New Jersey beaches to reopen, with restrictions

| 18 May 2020 | 04:31

New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy on May 14 gave guidance on how New Jersey's shore towns can open their beaches safely in time for Memorial Day weekend, as the state continued to edge cautiously forward during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beaches and lakefronts can reopen, but gatherings such as concerts and fireworks will be prohibited. Each town must establish its own capacity limitations and ways to enforce social distancing. Boardwalk restaurants can remain open for takeout only, but amusement parks and playgrounds will remain closed for now. The beach reopenings will take effect on May 22. Beach access has varied from town to town, as some have clashed with the state by opening parts of their beaches or have tried to restrict access to local residents only. "No community can turn a public beach into a de facto private one," Murphy said. Fishing charters and other chartered boat services and watercraft rentals were cleared to resume at the shore beginning May 17, with social distancing and online payments to lessen person-to-person contact required. Six Flags Great Adventure says it will soon reopen its drive-through safari now that Murphy has allowed drive-by activities. No opening date has yet been set, as the Jackson Township theme park is finalizing plans for it. The drive-through format enables guests to enjoy the Safari's 1,200 exotic animals from their vehicles, while allowing for proper social distancing. Tickets must be reserved in advance online.