NEW JERSEY — While referencing “Jersey Girl” — in which Bruce Springsteen ruminates over everything being alright at the shore — Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday that all public and private beaches in the state will re-open in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Starting May 22, more than 120 miles of beaches in the state of 9 million, as well as lakefronts, will re-open under a series of social distancing rules such as special limits on capacity and demarcation lines to maintain six feet of distance.
“Lets make Memorial Day weekend not only fun but safe,” Murphy said at the state’s COVID-19 press briefing at the George Washington Ballroom in Trenton.
Echoed by other gradual steps taken in the continued battle against COVID-19, boardwalk restaurants must continue take-out or delivery food services, and amusement parks, playgrounds, and visitor centers will remain shuttered.
“We’ve got to continue to comply at the beach,” Murphy said, before announcing that New Jersey now has 142,704 positive COVID-19 cases (an additional 1,216 in the last 24 hours) and 9,946 deaths (244 more).
The state’s dashboard outlines more details per county.
There are now 3,958 hospitalizations, what Murphy called a “great milestone.”
At its peak on April 14, the Garden State had as many as 8,084 hospitalizations - a number that has significantly declined over the past few weeks.
Declines were also reported regarding patients on critical or intensive care (1,157) and patients on ventilators (898).
There were 366 hospital discharges and 171 additional hospitalizations Wednesday.
Murphy clarified that public beaches cannot be turned into “de facto private beaches” — as all residents must feel they have access to the beaches they ordinarily do.
Local officials throughout the state will have say on how measures to cut down on beach capacity will be carried out and while face mask are not mandates, they are “highly recommended.”
Murphy also said further guidance on pools and charter fishing is expected in the next few days.