Cattus Island County Park (Barnegat Bay Partnership)
Cattus Island County Park (Barnegat Bay Partnership)

Ocean County officials announced today that three additional parks would reopen to the public following closures related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cattus Island County Park, in Toms River Township, Cloverdale County Park, in Barnegat Township and Tip Seaman County Park, Tuckerton, will reopen on Thursday. There will, however, be social distancing restrictions.

“I want to stress these parks are being reopened for passive recreation – walking, jogging, hiking, running and similar activities,” said Freeholder Virginia Haines. “Visitors must maintain social distancing and adhere to the other requirements set in place for the safety of the public and our county staff.”

The three additional parks have been added to the seven other parks reopened by the County on May 2 along with its two golf courses, the Barnegat Branch Trail, and its natural land sites.

In addition to the passive reopening, singles tennis/pickleball will be allowed at Ocean County Park, in Lakewood, Jakes Branch County Park, in Beachwood and Tip Seaman County Park, in Tuckerton, at this time based on Gov. Phil Murphy’s recommendations. There will be restrictions placed on play.

“I believe it’s important to again emphasize that reopening our parks in no way means the coronavirus pandemic is over,” Haines said. “And while we want to provide safe and large open spaces for our residents to spend time outside, especially with warm weather coming, we also want to urge everyone that they need to be mindful of themselves and their neighbors and continue to take precautions at this time.

Playgrounds, public bathrooms, nature centers, and pavilions will remain closed to the public as will the dog parks and the county’s other smaller parks. Additionally, parking will continue to be capped at 50 percent and wearing face coverings is strongly suggested.

“We encourage everyone to adhere to the requirements we have put in place to reopen the parks,” Haines said. “In time we look forward to reopening all of our parks.”

Ocean County closed its parks and natural lands to the public on March 31 and reopened several on May 2, including the county’s two golf courses, Wells Mills County Park, in Waretown, John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island, Jakes Branch County Park, in Beachwood, Ocean County Park and Lake Shenandoah County Park, both in Lakewood, Patriots County Park, in Jackson Township, and Freedom Fields, in Little Egg Harbor Township.

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and Ocean County Security Department will continue to patrol all the county parks to enforce rules and restrictions.