“Every beach will be required to establish capacity limitations, but we will leave it to local leaders to determine the method that would be best for their community,” the governor said.

By Alison Fox
May 14, 2020
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New Jersey will open its beaches in time for Memorial Day Weekend, allowing area residents and visitors to soak up the increasingly warming weather along the popular Jersey Shore.

The beaches, as well as lakefronts, will officially reopen on May 22, Gov. Phil Murphy said, NJ.com reported. However, it may not look like a typical scene, beaches and lakes will have to limit access in order to comply with social distancing regulations.

“We are living through unprecedented times, but we have confidence that residents and out-of-state visitors, alike, can take in a day at the beach safely, so long as the measures we are announcing today... are followed,” Murphy told reporters on Thursday, adding, “Every beach will be required to establish capacity limitations, but we will leave it to local leaders to determine the method that would be best for their community.”

Murphy added in a tweet that “The Shore is central to our Jersey identity and we want to ensure that families can safely enjoy it this summer.”

According to NJ.com, towns will consider measures like limiting the number of beach tags allowed at any given time. Additionally, while families will be allowed to be together, those not in the same household will have to remain six feet apart.

Activities like swimming will be allowed when the beaches reopen and lifeguards will be present, but will be spaced out. Murphy said boardwalks and bathrooms will also reopen, but restaurants will remain limited to take-out and delivery. Further, masks will not be required, but playgrounds, rides, and arcades will remain shuttered.

Credit: Mark Makela / Stringer

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told reporters he was “concerned” about the plan, NBC10 Philadelphia reported. Philadelphia is about 60 miles from the Jersey Shore.

Kenney said he didn’t want people to “go into other jurisdictions, become infected, and come back and infect other people.”

New Jersey has had a stay at home order in place since March 21, but recently started relaxing restrictions, allowing public access to previously closed state parks. On May 18, the state began allowing non-essential retailers to open for curbside pickup.

New Jersey has recorded more than 142,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.