BELMAR, NJ — Dogs are no longer allowed on the Belmar beach, Maclearie Park on Route 35 is closed and summer rentals are on hold through Memorial Day — the latest efforts by officials to keep out-of-towners from visiting the borough during the coronavirus crisis.

Mayor Mark Walsifer announced the beachfront dog ban and park closure in an April 9 letter to residents, citing Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order and “strict social distancing and nonessential travel protocols to ensure we flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic” as the reasons for the decision.

“Our concerns are for the public safety, and health and well-being of our residents in these trying and challenging times,” he said in the letter, posted on the borough's Facebook page and website

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Walsifer’s order was triggered by recent monitoring efforts by Belmar Police Department and Office of Emergency Management, which showed an increase of visitors driving into Belmar to walk their dogs on the beach, which usually is allowed in the offseason through April 30.

At this time, the beach will remain open, as borough officials will continue to monitor the flow of visitors to the oceanfront. Due to social distancing concerns, the boardwalk was closed on March 30.

READ MORE: Rise in Visitors to Belmar’s Beachfront Prompts Officials to Close Boardwalk amid Coronavirus Concerns

Meanwhile at Maclearie Park, which overlooks the Shark River, barricades have been placed at the entrance and exit of its parking lot to prevent access. Belmar playgrounds have been closed since mid-March. All Monmouth County and state parks are also closed indefinitely under government-mandated restrictions.

Meanwhile, Walsifer announced the decision at the borough council’s April 7 meeting to place a hold on summer rentals — including online reservations — through Memorial Day, particularly since the rental season begins on April 15.

"We’re holding off until Memorial Day weekend and playing it by ear to see if it’s going to be longer,” Walsifer said.

In his April 9 letter, the mayor also reminded residents not to gather in large family groups for the holiday weekend, to practice social distancing and to wear face masks when out in public.

“We have been very fortunate to have an extremely low rate of infection of COVID-19 in our community,” Walsifer  said, referring to the latest Monmouth County Health Department statistics that show Belmar has a total of four positive coronavirus cases.

“We appreciate your efforts in abiding by the recommendations of Gov. Murphy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said, thanking residents, first-responders, business owners and borough employees for “working together during these difficult times.”

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