WESTFIELD, NJ — After being closed for nearly a month due to coronavirus, most municipal parks and fields in Westfield will reopen for passive recreation beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, authorities said.

The National Weather Service has predicted sunny weather with a high near 70 degrees. But with social distancing regulations in place, don’t expect business as usual as people are being asked to frequent areas where they live and not drive to parks.

Police Chief Christopher Battiloro advised of the following in a statement Friday:

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  • Mindowaskin Park will remain closed until further notice due ongoing construction.
  • All parks will be closed to vehicular traffic and parking until further notice.
  • Parking violators will be ticketed.

Westfield Police anticipate paying special attention to Tamaques Park, which is typically one of the town’s busiest recreational areas.

“The Westfield Police Department will maintain a constant police presence in the park, and the officer(s) assigned will also be charged with enforcing a temporary no parking order extending the entire length of the west side of Dickson Drive, from Willow Grove Road to the entrance of Tamaques Park,” Battiloro said.

In addition, he said, Scotch Plains police will be enforcing temporary no parking orders on those streets off of Lamberts Mill Road adjacent to Tamaques Park.

“Parking violators should fully expect summons to be issued,” Battiloro said.

Mayor Shelley Brindle earlier in the week asked that residents walk or bike to nearby locations in keeping the state’s stay-at-home order, which discourages all non-essential travel.

“It may be difficult to maintain proper social distancing with the upcoming forecast for a nice weather weekend,” Brindle said . “Please exercise special precautions to help us make this initial reopening a success for everyone by following the guidelines in place.”

Only individual activities such as walking, jogging and bicycling will be allowed, she said. For these activities, individuals may be accompanied by family members, caretakers or other household members, Brindle said.

Restrooms will be closed, as will all playgrounds, basketball, tennis and pickleball courts. Organized sports, fitness classes or other gatherings are not permitted, authorities said.

Fields 1 and 2 at Tamaques Park will be fenced off due to seeding, aeration and maintenance, the town’s announcement said.

MORE: Social Distancing: What Exactly Does that Mean? Westfield Health Officials Explain.

County Parks

Reopening Westfield’s parks is anticipated to come along with the reopening of county parks and state parks for passive recreation.

Union County Parks are reopening under guidelines consistent with the state parks reopening, county officials announced earlier this week.

“The virus does not disappear outside,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella in a press release. “Please be safe and help save lives by observing the 6-foot social distance guideline and other rules for visiting County parks during this time.”

Members of the public are encouraged to wear masks, although this has not been mandated by executive order, state authorities said.

In Union County parks, the following facilities remain closed until further notice: restrooms, picnic areas, athletic fields, playgrounds and exercise stations, Trailside Nature & Science Center, Warinanco Sports Center, Watchung Stable, and Echo Lake and Warinanco dog parks.

Visitors are advised to avoid congested areas.

When using pathways and trails give way to others, in order to maintain the 6-foot social distance rule.

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

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