BELMAR, NJ — It may be the first full day of spring, but the stark reality of the restrictions put in place in Belmar during the current coronavirus outbreak are evident where people usually begin to enjoy the warmer weather.

Signs have been placed along the 1.3-mile boardwalk alerting people not to congregate in groups larger than 10 and to be aware that the railings and benches, which may be “a source for contamination from the COVID-19,” have not been cleaned or disinfected.

In addition, playgrounds throughout the borough are off limits, with Police Department stanchions blocking entry to the four areas along the beach, as well as Jane Magovern’s Playground on Eighth Avenue, Mitzi and Emily’s Playground on 15th Avenue and the Ed Brown Playground, next to Maclearie Park along the Shark River.

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But still, the spring has brought a bit of life to the boardwalk, as people are out and about enjoying the fresh air and stopping at the eateries serving take-out along Ocean Avenue. 

The limits on social gatherings and closings of the playgrounds are mandated under Gov. Phil Murphy’s Emergency Declaration issued on March 16 “to limit social contact in order to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Passive areas, such as nature walks, walking and running paths, remain open — for now.

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