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Murphy Announces Statewide Rules for Beaches Effective May 22

The Point Pleasant Beach oceanfront, Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Point Pleasant Beach oceanfront, Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday announced that Jersey Shore beaches – as well as inland lakes and parks – are to open May 22, but with restrictions in place that will be decided upon by each individual town.

Most local communities have opened beach access in one way or another. Seaside Heights has put into place a detailed, two-phase approach that will bar swimming through June but gradually allow for activities such as sitting and sunbathing. Meanwhile, Brick has taken a more streamlined approach, announcing that the sale of daily beach badges would be limited. It is likely that some local communities will modify their beach access policies now that Murphy has announced his guidelines that will apply to municipal and private beaches across the state. The inclusion of private beaches in the plan may also be the go-ahead required for enterprises such as Jenkinson’s to reopen, however non-essential retail is off limits and bars remain shuttered.

Under Murphy’s order, rides and arcades will remain closed. Restaurants will only be able to offer to-go service. All organized activities on beaches are also banned.

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Murphy’s specific requirements for reopening, in effect May 22, are:

  • Capacity limitations decided upon by local officials. Specifically, limiting the number of beach badges sold or electronically monitoring the number of people present on a beach.
  • Social distancing measures of 6-feet between groups will be required, except for family members, members of the same household or couples in a romantic relationship.
  • No organized games, summer camps, contact sports or events such as beachfront concerts or festivals.
  • Rides and arcades will remain closed.
  • Showers and restrooms may open, but with strict cleaning standards.

“The Jersey Shore, after all, is where memories are made,” Murphy said. “The last thing any of us wanted was a summertime down the shore to be a memory.”