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All Ocean County Parks and Natural Lands closed until further notice starting 6pm today

Parks and natural lands will be closed to the public starting at 6 p.m. today until further notice due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“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.

“We had started to close some parks to the public last week 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.

Ocean County maintains and operates 27 parks across the county including such popular locations as Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood, John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island, Wells Mills County Park, Waretown, Ocean County Park, Lakewood, Cattus Island County Park, Toms River, and the Barnegat Branch Trail which travels from Barnegat Township north through Berkeley Township.

“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.”

Ocean County has more than 950 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

“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.

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There are 3 Comments to "All Ocean County Parks and Natural Lands closed until further notice starting 6pm today"

  • lakewood res says:

    Why?… Why are people allowing them to take even the healthy enjoyable outlets away?
    Parks are outdoor with plenty of space to social distance & helps normal people stay sane in such a ridiculous time…
    its shocking to see what people are willing to put up with…

  • Little bit little... says:

    These guidelines are absolutely nonsensical according to any normal disease fighting protocol. Parks and open spaces are the best places for people to be, as long as they’re responsible. The ultimate irony is that nanny state which cheerfully kills hundreds of innocent babies a day across the US (THOUSANDS a day across Western society) and which openly advocates euthanasia and denying the elderly health care (a very common liberal position – including amongst the leading Dem presidential candidates) – is now soooo concerned about last human life. POPPYCOCK!!! This is a power play, pure and simple, and just practice for the full population control which the politicians crave like Coke addicts do their next fix.

    Taking advantage of the herd panic they’ve already succeded in promoting, the Dem pols and lib media are already discussing the following two “issues”: 1) how are people going to vote from home in the presidential election in NOVEMBER, and 2) what if ONE SIDE DOESN’T ACCEPT THE RESULTS?? After all, they say, with such a crisis and “already established precedent (sic), of course there’s going to be foreign interference”.

    NOTHING about that makes any sense whatsoever, with the application of even the most superficial critical thought. There is no question that this virus is bad. But PLEASE, people, remind yourself who has been – BY FAR – the greatest threat to human life in the world, both historically but most especially in modern times: CORRUPT, EVIL, POWER HUNGRY HUMAN BEINGS.

    The greatest danger we are facing now is NOT the virus. It is the unscrupulous, pols taking away all your freedoms and restricting your movement. Oh yes, of course it’s all for your own good!, don’t you know? Sound familiar? Sound topical? Sound like what was done to us in Mitzrayim? – a model successfully followed, by the way, in the establishment of many successive dictatorships…

    President Reagen had it right when he said the most chilling words in the English language are: “we’re from the government and we’re here to help you”! Close parks and open spaces and lock people into their homes for months on end?!?! No, people, this does NOT pass the smell test. Beware, there’s a lot more here than abortionists and euthanasists “concern” for your health…