JERSEY CITY, NJ - Jersey City will reopen five local parks as a first step to safely help residents restore their routines through outdoor exercise and recreational activities while adhering to social distancing measures, Mayor Steven M. Fulop said Saturday. The parks will be open for residents to enjoy the fresh air from dawn to dusk for jogging, walking, and all non-contact activities following the health and safety protocols in place. 

The mayor initially ordered the parks closed in March as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although some county parks and Liberty State Park remained open for a while afterward, an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy also closed those parks, too.

Local officials – especially members of the Hudson County Freeholders – have been pushing to have larger parks open in order to relieve some of the tensions of people in lockdown and provide places for exercise.

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Fulop said one Division of Parks and Forestry employee and one Recreation Division employee will be assigned to each park to ensure cleanliness, safe social distancing, and proper park usage with added patrol from the Jersey City Police Department. A face covering must be worn at all times, gloves are recommended.

“We closed the parks early on to keep people safe, which helped slow the spread of the virus,” Fulop said. “After nearly two months of quarantine, there’s also a mental and physical health aspect that needs to be considered, and we know we can’t ask our residents, who rely on parks for outdoor access, to stay inside indefinitely.”

“We believe now is an appropriate time to responsibly provide residents with that public health outlet in a controlled setting, especially as the weather warms.”

As of Monday, April 27, the following five parks spanning the city will reopen with restrictions: Enos Jones Park, Berry Lane Park, Audubon Park, Leonard Gordon Park and Pershing Field.

Prior to reopening, city crews will deep clean the parks in an abundance of caution. City officials will reserve the right to limit entry to the park if overcrowding becomes a concern and will remove park-goers if improper behavior, such as organized sports,  takes place. The city also continues to encourage anyone who feels sick to stay home.

Playground equipment, dog runs, basketball hoops, and other active recreation equipment will still remain closed, as will restrooms and any indoor facilities will also remain closed to public access. Dog walkers asked to keep all dogs on leashes and curb all dogs before entering the park.

The Administration is planning a second phase of park openings in mid-May so that more residents have access to recreational space while adhering to the health and safety mandates in place.

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