While Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an order that will soon reopen state and county parks, half of Hudson County’s mayors say it’s still too early, citing the number of COVID-19 cases across their six municipalities.
“As mayors in the most densely populated county in the country with over 14,000 COVID-19 infections, we strongly believe that leaving all municipal parks closed in our respective cities is in the best interest of public health,” Brian Stack, Nick Sacco, Ravi Bhalla, Wayne Zitt, Richard Turner, and Gabriel Rodriguez said in a joint statement today.
“While we are planning for the eventual re-opening of our parks and know how important they are to our residents, we remain concerned about the potential overcrowding and enforcement of social distancing. Out of an abundance of caution, we made the collective decision to keep our municipal parks closed until further notice.”
They also thanked Murphy for giving mayors discretion to open parks at their own pace, also noting that they look forward to collaborating with Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and the board of chosen freeholders to decide what county parks will reopen soon.
A few of the larger county parts within those six municipalities are Columbus Park in Hoboken, Washington Park on the Union City-Jersey City border, and James J. Braddock in North Bergen.
This afternoon, the governor announced that county and state parks, along with golf courses, would be able to reopen at sunrise on Saturday.
However, there will still be restrictions, as picnics, team sports, and other group activities all still prohibited, parking capped at 50 percent capacity, and face masks recommended, as HCV first reported.
At the time, DeGise expressed enthusiasm about reopening county parks and golf courses, also noting that all future decisions about parks would be done in conjunction with the local mayors.
He has subsequently said in a statement that social distancing will still be enforced be “strictly enforced” by the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.
Jersey City began reopening five of their parks under certain guidelines on Monday, while the mayors in Hoboken, Union City, North Bergen, West New York, Weehawken and Guttenberg announced they would take a “regional approach” to reopening yesterday.