Photo of Asbury Park, NJ via Wikimedia Commons
Beaches and boardwalks of the Jersey Shore will open in time for Memorial Day, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Thursday. Effective May 22, all public and private beaches and lakeside areas can open in the state, but with capacity limits and social distancing measures in place.
“The Jersey Shore, after all, is where memories are made,” Murphy said during a press briefing. “The last thing any of us wanted was for a summertime down the shore to be a memory.”
Under Murphy’s executive order, every New Jersey beach must limit capacity and enforce social distancing measures, allowing six feet of distance between beachgoers. No contact sports, organized games, concerts, fireworks, or other crowd-attracting events will take place.
The state is leaving it up to local officials to decide how to implement these regulations. Some towns and municipalities have already opened their beaches, with more detailed plans in place to address the busy summer months. In Cape May, health officials said they plan to deploy “social distancing ambassadors” to patrol the beach and boardwalks, as ABC News reported.
In Monmouth County, the town of Manasquan plans to open its beaches in phases, with the beach officially opening to season pass holders only on May 22. Access will be restricted to nine ramps. The town plans to roll out the second phase in June that involves resuming the sale of daily badges and parking passes.
Murphy said restaurants on boardwalks can open for takeout and delivery orders only. Rides at amusement parks, any playgrounds, and visitor centers will remain closed. Restrooms, shower pavilions, and changing areas will be open, although with frequent cleaning and disinfection.
The news comes just one day after Murphy said NJ’s reopening plan will kick off on Monday, May 18. The first phase of the statewide reopening involves the restart of non-essential construction, non-essential retail stores for curbside pickup, and drive-in/through events.
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