Yesterday Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 143 permitting the reopening of all public and private beaches, boardwalks, lakes and lakeshores effective 6:00 a.m. on May 22, 2020 with certain parameters. While bathrooms, showering and changing areas can be open certain facilities and equipment, such as water fountains, picnic areas, playgrounds, amusement parks and arcades, pavilions, and water/splash parks will remain closed until further notice.
The order also continues the prohibition on impermissible gatherings of individuals including special events such as festivals, concerts, fireworks and movies and all organized or contact activities or sports. All food and liquor establishments on the beach and/or lakeshores are limited to food delivery and take-out services only as detailed in Executive Order 107.
The order requires both private and public beaches and lakes to implement non-discriminatory capacity restrictions, and require social distancing, whenever practicable. In addition the order calls for the development and implementation of lifeguard training and beach operation plans to provide appropriate protections for the lifeguards and public as well as a continuous public outreach campaign to communicate the restrictions. The order outlines various steps that may be taken to achieve these goals.
The same restrictions outlined above also apply to public piers, docks, wharfs, boat ramps and boat landings throughout the State.
The order does permit a local government or private beach club to impose additional restrictions not inconsistent with this order including closing any beaches, boardwalks, or lakes within their jurisdiction.
The order also opens restrooms and permits swimming in designated areas in State Parks and Forest, as well as county and municipal parks that are open. While picnic areas will remain closed, picnicking is now permitted provided that social distancing is observed. This provision takes effect 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020.
If you have a public park, beach or lakefront shore we strongly suggest you review this executive order with your municipal attorney and administrator.