HOBOKEN, NJ—Officials in Hoboken have announced a gradual re-opening of City parks, beginning on Friday.

“Based on the recent data demonstrating a downward trend in new, confirmed cases in Hoboken, and the important benefits of outdoor activities on mental health, we are moving forward with the first phase of a gradual parks re-opening,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

The parks set to open are, Church Square Park. Elysian Park, Southwest Park, Stevens Park, Columbus Park (Hudson County park), 7th & Jackson Park and Plaza, Harborside Park, Maxwell Park, Pier A Park, Shipyard Park, Shoprite Green Plaza, Sinatra Park amphitheater, 14th Street Viaduct between Grand and Adams Streets (Hudson County Park).

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The move to reopen has been accompanied by pleas from the Mayor to maintain social distancing protocols and wear protective facemasks.

"If these critical precautions are observed, we can keep our parks open for the long-term and consider opening additional open spaces," said Bhalla. "If these rules are not respected and the safety of our residents is jeopardized by residents congregating in groups, we will need to revisit whether or not parks can remain open.”

Hoboken was part of a coalition of Hudson County municipalities to delay the opening of their parks, citing a high volume of COVID-19 cases. Nearby Jersey City had reopened many of its parks last week, and maintains that protocols are being observed and enforced.

"At the start of every shift, all police officers are updated as to the protocols in place to protect the health and safety of the community, which was instituted prior to the pandemic," claims Jersey City Spokesperson Kimberly Scalcione. "The directives are crystal clear, and JCPD units are assigned to patrol each reopened park, in conjunction with one DPW and one Recreation employee, to ensure the measures put in place are followed."

Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante says the move to reopen more parks, "...may provide some relief off of the waterfront if people go to the parks in their neighborhood."

Ferrante echoes the Mayor's concern, saying, "This past weekend, social distancing was pretty good, but mask wearing was not and that needs to improve. For the individual's well-being, others around them, and for our first responders and medical professionals, I urge people to please wear a face covering."

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