TRENTON, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy said that the state will be “giving guidance” to Jersey Shore beach towns in the “next week or so” as local officials continue to plan for the opening of their summer season on Memorial Day weekend.
Responding to a reporter's question during his May 8 press briefing, Murphy said, “We’re trying to come up with a paradigm (for beaches) that is consistent … with the mindset that we approached parks with.”
When parks and golf courses were reopened on May 2, parking capacity was limited to 50 percent, social distance mandates were put in place and the wearing of face coverings was encouraged — three areas that would be addressed in guidance for beach openings, he said.
While state Chief Counsel Matt Platkin said that one of Murphy’s executive orders gives municipalities authority over its beaches, Murphy also said beach openings are contingent on whether trends continue to show the slowing spread of the coronavirus.
“The curves that we look at every day have got to continue improving. If they turn against us, there’s no way we can responsibly open the beaches,” he said. “Folks have to accept that going to the beach will be an experience that will feel like it always has, and in some ways, like it never has. Folks are going to have to understand that.”
With the Memorial Day weekend just two weeks away, municipalities along the Jersey Shore have been grappling with how to prepare for the season amid the coronavirus crisis. During the past week, many have started to roll out timelines and restrictions on their own, including Belmar.