TRENTON, NJ — Calling the Jersey Shore central to the state’s identity, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that beaches will be open in time for Memorial Day weekend with social distancing guidelines and capacity limits in place.

And each beach community will be responsible for developing its own plan in following those coronavirus-related rules, which take effect on May 22, he said during his May 14 press briefing.

“I’m leaving it to local officials on how to best implement these measures. Each shore town has its unique characteristics,” said Murphy, singling out Belmar Mayor Mark Walsifer for “putting forward a particular smart beach plan.”

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Walsifer will be speaking on behalf of Monmouth County beach communities on Monday, May 18 during a “Kick Off to Summer” press conference, sponsored by the county board of freeholders. The event will be held at 9 a.m. on Belmar’s boardwalk.

RELATED: Belmar Focuses on Social Distancing along Beachfront as Summer Season Approaches

Under Murphy’s directive, beach towns will be setting capacity and admission limitations, as well as ways to ensure that social distancing of six feet is maintained — with exceptions to be made for family groups, household members and couples. Face coverings are suggested, but not required. 

Restrooms, showers and changing areas will be open with proper sanitation procedures in place, but water fountains will remain closed.

Organized games, contact sports, beachfront summer camps and special events, such as concerts, fireworks and festivals, will not be allowed on any Jersey Shore beach at this time, he said.

And playgrounds, amusement rides, water play equipment arcades and picnic areas along any boardwalk or beachfront will remain closed. 

Food establishments on any beachfront or boardwalk will be limited to providing takeout and delivery for the time being, Murphy said, acknowledging there “could be a different reality a month from today.”

He said the state’s guidance was a collaborative effort of counties and municipalities up and down the Jersey Shore and in coordination with officials in Connecticut, New York and Delaware.

The directive also applies to lakefront municipalities, while guidance on community pools will be addressed at a later date," Murphy said. 

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