Toward the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a stay-at-home order and began enforcing social distancing measures. Part of these efforts included the closure of almost everything, businesses, schools, and houses of worship, unless considered an essential service.
Despite the widespread closures, parks remained open. Residents used parks as a reprieve during the stay-at-home order, many jogging or exercising in local parks.
Eventually harsher social-distancing measures were put in place by Murphy. On April 7, he closed all state and county parks.
“We have seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups and by closing these areas, we are further limiting public interactions to only the most essential purposes,” Murphy said. “Data shows that our aggressive efforts to flatten the curve are beginning to make a difference; however, we must continue our push to flatten it to the point where our day-over-day increase is zero.”
Under the executive order, municipalities still have the authority to keep municipal parks open or closed.
In Bayonne, the parks are still open.
Passive use only
In a video address, Mayor James Davis reminded residents that parks are open. He applauded residents for staying at home and practicing social distancing.
Davis pointed to the widely-practiced social distancing as one of the reasons parks were allowed to remain open, despite other municipalities closing their parks.
The Bayonne Office of Emergency Management confirmed this in its April 17 update that offered answers to a number of residents’ questions and concerns.
“I see people exercising outside, should I be concerned?” one questioner asked.
OEM said that because exercise is important, especially during this isolation, Bayonne parks will remain open for passive use. However, all municipal playgrounds remain closed.
“It’s okay to walk or go for a run,” according to OEM. “You will need to help keep social distance from non-household members.”
Organized sports such as football, soccer, and basketball are prohibited.
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