OCEAN COUNTY – Fourteen playgrounds at county-run parks and the spray park at the John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island are expected to reopen on July 2, officials said.
With the reopening comes more sanitizing and other changes in operation.
The park equipment will be sanitized daily, and patrons are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer for before and after playground use, said Freeholder Virginia E. Haines. No food, drink, or toys will be permitted on the playgrounds.
“It’s important to observe social distancing rules and to wear a mask when using these facilities and especially when you are around other people,” said Haines, who serves as chairwoman of the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. “The spray park and the playgrounds are very popular with our residents and visitors, particularly children, and while we want the experience to be enjoyable it’s imperative that it’s also safe for everyone including park department staff.”
The spray park will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and park employees will be on hand to monitor the site and make sure not too many people are using it at any one time. There will also be one way in and one way out of the spray park, and time limits to promote social distancing while letting everyone have a turn.
“It’s important for all of us to continue to do our part in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus even while enjoying the outdoors at the spray park and the playgrounds,” Haines said. “Taking simple precautions will keep everyone safe.”
The parks had been closed on March 31 and started reopening in May. The nature centers at Cattus Island County Park, Toms River, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood and Wells Mills County Park, Waretown, remain closed to the public.
Restroom facilities at county park sites will be open, but visitors must be wearing a face covering. Face coverings are strongly recommended when accessing the dog parks at Ocean County Airpark in Berkeley Township and Ocean County Park, Lakewood and all of the parks in the county system.
Haines noted that Ocean County continues to adjust the restrictions at its parks and golf courses as time goes on and at the direction of health experts and the state.
“We want everyone to enjoy our parks and natural lands safely,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “The health and safety of our residents and visitors is paramount. It’s important that we continue to follow social distancing rules and use face masks. We all need to remember that our actions don’t affect just us, they affect our family, they affect our health care workers, they affect our emergency responders, they affect the workers at our grocery stores.”