HAMILTON, NJ -- To further flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Governor Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday that all State parks and forests as well as County parks will be closed until further notice. Murphy said he signed the Executive Order as a result of reports statewide of people gathering in parks violating state directives for social distancing that is key in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
“My Administration’s top priority is to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases, so we do not create a surge within our health care systems and overwhelm the health care professionals who are managing our response on the frontlines,” said Murphy. “We have seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups and by closing these areas, we are further limiting public interactions to only the most essential purposes.
"Data shows that our aggressive efforts to flatten the curve are beginning to make a difference; however, we must continue our push to flatten it to the point where our day-over-day increase is zero," Murphy added.
As a result of the Executive Order, all Mercer County parks including park trails, entrances, parking lots, dog parks, lakes, docks and walkways will be closed. This includes the general open park space, facilities, and programming.
The Executive Order allowed local municipalities to determine the fate of their local parks.
As such, Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin announced on Tuesday afternoon that Township parks also will be closed. Martin said the order applies to Veteran's Park, Sayen Park, and all "neighborhood" parks.
"While I wanted all parks to remain open, I am concerned that if our parks remain open, they would not be able to safely handle the additional visitors. It would put your safety, and the safety of our parks employees, in jeopardy and I cannot take that chance," said Martin. "Please continue to keep up your social and physical distancing, washing your hands, and abiding by all CDC recommendations. By all of us working together, we will get through this together."
The Mercer County and Hamilton parks will be closed at 8:00 pm on April 7 until further notice.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Elizabeth Meyers and tell her about it.