WESTFIELD, NJ — With the number of people confirmed to carry coronavirus rapidly rising across New Jersey, the mayor stood by an earlier decision intended to restrict people from gathering at local parks.

The restrictions, which take effect at 5 p.m. Friday, will block vehicular traffic from town parks, shut all school parking lots as well as close park tennis courts and basketball courts.

“The intent of the parking lot closures is to mitigate crowds in the parks by encouraging people to stay within their neighborhoods,” Brindle said in a nightly update on COVID-19 Wednesday. “If you are fortunate enough to be able to walk, bike or run to a nearby park, then you should do so. If not, your outdoor activity should be maintained in the vicinity of your local streets and neighborhoods.”

Sign Up for Westfield Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Brindle defended the restrictions while announcing that three more people from Westfield had tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total number of local cases to 42. The news came on the same day Gov. Phil Murphy reported that an additional 3,649 people across New Jersey tested positive for the virus and an additional 91 people with the virus died, bringing the death toll to at least 355. That figure includes three Westfield residents.

MORE: Gov. Murphy Announces Over 3.6K More COVID-19 Cases, 91 Deaths in NJ

Authorities continue to reiterate the need for social distancing.

“The Governor’s stay at home order means just that: stay at home,” Brindle wrote. “If residents are getting in their cars to drive to a park, it doesn’t meet the definition of essential travel. While this might be temporarily inconvenient for many, it’s a small price to pay for a potentially life-saving measure.

“I’m so sorry to be the unfun captain. I realize that many of these decisions are unpopular and believe me, it really stinks. As an avid tennis player, I’m still mad about my decision to close the courts :),” Brindle wrote. “But our small sacrifices are nothing compared to the daily stories I hear from the many doctors and nurses that live in our community who are putting their own health at risk. We can do this.”

In related news, Brindle instructed people to not discard protective gloves, which she said have been found littered in various locations downtown.

“This is both unacceptable and wholly unnecessary, as we have garbage cans easily accessible throughout the area. Please do your part to ensure the safety of our Public Works team who continue to report to work as essential employees,” she said.

TAPinto.net Editor Steve Rodas contributed reporting.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

Are you a business interested in reaching our audience? Contact Jackie Lieberman at Jlieberman@tapinto.net.

MORE: You Can Show Local Businesses Some Love with Free Signs by Westfield Print Shop
MORE: Thrice Upon a Mattress: Partnering with Entrepreneurs, Shovlin Helps a Family Out
MORE: Mobile Meals of Westfield on Hold Amid Coronavirus Pandemic