New Jersey may get its summer after all. Things might look just a little bit different.
Ocean and lakefront beaches in the state will be open by Memorial Day weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy announced at a press conference on Thursday, with capacity limitations and social distancing remaining in place.
Every beach must limit the number of visitors allowed there while maintaining six-feet social distancing, Murphy said. The restrictions will be enforced except for family groups, household caretakers or couples.
Shower pavilions, changing areas and restrooms will also reopen at beaches. Restrooms at parks will also reopen as a part of the order.
As a part of the order that goes into effect May 22nd, organized contact sports and events will be prohibited as well as beachfront summer camps and special events that draw people to the beach such as concerts, festivals and fireworks – a point of pride for New Jersey beaches around July 4.
Restaurants must continue to offer take-out and delivery options only, while amusement parks, playgrounds and visitor centers will remain closed. Masks, he said, are recommended but not required.
“We are not ordering it but we highly recommend that you wear a face covering, particularly when social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as while waiting in line for a slice of boardwalk pizza” said Gov. Murphy.
New Jersey’s coronavirus numbers continue to improve
Data showing declines in new hospitalizations, patients in hospitals, patients in the ICU, and patients on ventilators since the peak fueled the decision to issue an executive order to begin reopening, Gov. Murphy said.
There were 898 new cases of Covid-19 as of Thursday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 141,560, Gov. Murphy announced. There were 197 new deaths reported and 9,702 total deaths in the state.
“The data we are seeing gives us confidence that we can begin the careful and responsible restart of the economy to get people back to work and begin to set the stage for the steps to come,” Murphy said.
He added that the state’s success “flattening the curve” gives him the confidence that more restrictions will be relaxed in the coming days and weeks ahead.