Ocean County Parks Closed Until Further Notice

Photo courtesy Ocean County

  OCEAN COUNTY – In an attempt to slow the progression of COVID-19, all county parks and natural lands will be closed until further notice.

  “With President Trump extending the social distancing mandate for the country until the end of April and with New Jersey Gov. Murphy strongly emphasizing that social distancing and staying home is not just a suggestion but a mandate for New Jersey, along with our health experts, it’s important we take this step to further protect our citizens from the spread of the coronavirus,” said Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, chairwoman of the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust. “We have to take this seriously.”

  Before the county-wide mandate, the Mantoloking Bridge County Park and Fishing Pier on Mantoloking Road in Brick were closed because too many people were using it at once. Normally, it’s good for a lot of people to use a park. But in today’s climate, it made it impossible to stay six feet away from others.

  “We had started to close some parks to the public…in an effort to curtail large gatherings and because of a lack of social distancing,” Haines said. “Because the power of social distancing cannot be stressed enough we are taking this next step and shutting down all of our parks and natural land sites to the public.”

  Ocean County had already shut down its two golf courses, public playgrounds, playing fields, and nature centers to the public. 

Photo courtesy Ocean County

  “With more than 4,000 acres of county parkland and 30,000 acres of natural lands, we cannot police everyone who does not want to change their behavior during this very turbulent time,” Haines said. “Closing down our open spaces will, I hope, result in people staying home unless they are essential workers or need to get to a food store, drug store or health care provider.”

  “We have to break the back of this virus and we have to reduce the curve,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “I’m asking all of our citizens to please listen to the President, listen to the Governor, listen to the health experts and just stay home at this time.

  “I know this is difficult, we are social creatures, and there are also many essential workers that still need to get to work,” Vicari said. “And for the most part, people are doing what they are being asked to do, but until we get this virus under control, please, unless you are essential to your job, stay home. Your actions don’t affect just you, they affect your family, they affect our health care workers, they affect our emergency responders, they affect the workers at our grocery stores.”

  The number of positive cases increases daily in Ocean County, and several deaths have already been reported.

Photo courtesy Ocean County

  “With a steady increase in cases in Ocean County, we need to keep people out of areas where they can congregate,” Haines said. “If we all do our part we can help all 600,000 residents of Ocean County get through this outbreak safely.”

  Signs will be posted at all Ocean County Parks announcing the closure. And entrance gates will be locked.

  The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and Ocean County Security Department will continue to patrol the county parks during the closure.