TRENTON, NJ— Amusement park rides, water parks and playgrounds will re-open in time for July 4th weekend, with 50% capacity and other COVID-19 protocols.

“It's just a coincidence that it's a scorcher outside today, but today we are announcing that outdoor amusement parks and water parks will be able to reopen next Thursday, July 2…this includes the rides on our boardwalks,” Gov. Phil Murphy said at the George Washington Ballroom in Trenton on Tuesday. 

“The specific guidance that operators will need to follow to better protect their customers and employees is currently being finalized and will be forthcoming,” he added.

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What is already known, as far as regulations, includes rides configured so everyone remains six feet apart, face coverings for staff and attendees, strict hygiene rules — including frequently sanitizing rides between use — and distance markers for those in line. 

“With next week's July 4 holiday weekend rapidly approaching and with families rightfully looking for ways to enjoy their time off together, we wanted to make it known that yes, the rides will be an operation,” the governor said. “But moreover, we want everyone to enjoy their time together responsibly, simultaneously.”

New Jersey’s health department confirmed an additional 382 positive cases this afternoon and 57 additional deaths. The state's total toll currently sits at 169,734 known cases and 12,949 deaths. 

Murphy also said there are now 1,092 hospitalizations. Since Monday, 50 new patients and 48 discharges were reported. 

Long-term care facilities have confirmed 46 new cases (36,000 total) and 50 deaths (6,248 total). 

While outlining the latest case figures, State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli detailed the increase of patients ages 18-29. This month, that age group accounts for 22% of cases — a 10% increase from April.

“While we know that some of this increase can be attributed to an increase in access to testing, we are still concerned about this trend,” Persichilli said, pointing to a recent large gathering at the Jersey Shore.  

More than 640 residents ages 18-29 have been hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19 since the outbreak began in March, and over 50 deaths have resulted.

Week 2 of the state's second stage kicked off Monday with a number of services and activities resuming, including barbershops, salons, youth sports and swimming pools (both private and public).

Re-openings earmarked for July 2 will also include casinos and in-door dining. State officials are expected to announce more openings this week. 

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