NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In an effort to further implement social distancing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday ordered the closure of all state and county parks and forests in New Jersey.
The good news is that parks in the Hub City remain open.
Mayor Jim Cahill told TAPinto New Brunswick last week that he hopes to keep the city's parks open, even though some playground and exercise equipment has been roped off.
"It's because the folks in New Brunswick and those that are using our parks are complying with this social distancing requirements," he said. "And I am happy as could be about that, because that's to me a critically important part of how we deal with the stay at home restrictions and travel bans that are placed on us throughout the state. The ability to go outside exercise a little bit, hopefully on sunny days get a little sunshine. Just to feel like you're not cooped up in your house or your apartment all day is going to help a lot of people get through this."
According to the city's website, there are 17 parks in New Brunswick, including Memorial Stadium.
Murphy, however, moved to close 58 parks and forests, including the 1,600-acre Cheesequake Park in Old Bridge.
“We have seen far too many instances where people have gathered in groups in parks erroneously thinking since they are outside social distancing doesn’t matter," Murphy said. “Nothing can be further than the truth.”
Murphy said State Police will continue to monitor them to make sure people aren't gathering at, say, Ramapo Mountain State Forest or Monmouth Battlefield State Park.
Union, Camden and Essex counties have already moved to close their parks.
Although Murphy has left it up to each municipality to decide if it wants to keep its parks open, some already have moved to shut them down.
Hours after Murphy's order, Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey announced that parks in the township would be closed as of Wednesday.
"As long as our folks are mindful and properly exercising social distancing, then we're going to keep our parks open and we encourage all people to continue to help themselves and help us by continuing to practice appropriate social distancing so that we don't have to take that action," Cahill said.