WATCHUNG, NJ - Watchung Borough is urging residents and community members to follow safe social distancing guidelines and is discouraging walking around the Borough's two lakes. Borough Councilman Ronald Jubin, who is a virologist and is the Borough Council liaison to the Board of Health, discussed the issues at the last meeting of the Borough Council Thursday and the Borough provided the following update on Sunday:
We are extremely fortunate to have two lakes at the center of our lovely borough. As many of you are aware, Watchung Lake has become a mecca for people seeking exercise and a way to reduce stress during this trying time. Occasionally, and mostly on the warmest and sunniest days, the lake has become quite crowded, which represents a challenge to the social distancing we all need to maintain. Several residents have expressed a desire to have foot traffic around Watchung Lake move in only one direction as a way of mitigating the difficultly in observing that charge. While it would be safest to do that in a counterclockwise direction so that people are walking against traffic, we are concerned that excessive numbers of pedestrians pose a risk to public health, regardless of the direction they are walking.
Several cities and towns are closing their parks all together. While we want to discourage anyone from walking around the lake to curb the risk to everyone, we would prefer to avoid prohibiting individuals from enjoying our natural treasure at a time like this. In an initial effort to minimize foot traffic around the lake, and the threat to the public, we are asking that residents walk in their own neighborhoods as much as possible. If the lure of the lake is impossible to control, observe whether too many others have had that same urge before you and if so, please either come back later or return to your neighborhood to get your exercise. A strong indicator of overcrowding would be that the two parking lots (one by the dam and the other by Mobus Field) are full. In any case, you must not use private parking lots, such as Water and Wine’s, or private driveways.
We truly hope we can manage the flow of pedestrians around the lake with a thoughtful and common-sense approach, rather than dictating other solutions that may make life during this crisis harder than it already is. Let’s all keep in mind that the health of one can impact the health of all if we do not follow CDC and NJDOH guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation.
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