NEW JERSEY - State and county parks and golf courses will reopen on Saturday in the first major move Gov. Phil Murphy has made to toward returning life in the Garden State to normal amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Although residents will be allowed to run, hike, bike, fish and kayak, all restrooms, picnic areas, playgrounds and visitor centers will remain closed.
State and county parks have been closed since April 7 after officials observed many people not observing social distancing guidelines. Many of the Garden State's county and state parks also had an increase in out-of-state visitors.
Murphy said he "strongly recommends" people utilizing state and county parks to cover their faces. He also stressed that park visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines. The decision to reopen local parks rests with each municipality.
He also said that law enforcement officials will be monitoring the parks.
“I’m not trying to be a jerk about this,” he said at Tuesday's daily COVID-19 news conference. “If we see congregation of people and they’re not social distancing, they’re not wearing face masks, we will reconsider.”
New Jersey residents have been under a stay-at-home order since March 21.
While other states have been preparing to ease their stay-at-home restrictions in May, Murphy warned on Tuesday that New Jersey is "weeks away" from reopening.