New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Tuesday announced that he signed an executive order closing all state parks and forests and county parks to further social distancing measures.
The order takes effect on Tuesday, April 7, at 8 p.m. and is in effect until further notice. Mercer County Park and the 70-mile Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park are two examples of area parks that are affected by the executive order and will be closed.
“My Administration’s top priority is to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases, so we do not create a surge within our health care systems and overwhelm the health care professionals who are managing our response on the frontlines,” Murphy said. “We have seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups and by closing these areas, we are further limiting public interactions to only the most essential purposes. Data shows that our aggressive efforts to flatten the curve are beginning to make a difference; however, we must continue our push to flatten it to the point where our day-over-day increase is zero.”
Municipalities still have the authority to keep municipal parks open or closed.
Murphy also signed Executive Order No. 119, which extends the public health emergency declared on March 9. Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed.
“While we have taken aggressive action in our fight against COVID-19, we must continue to use every resource at our disposal to flatten the curve and mitigate the spread of the virus,” Murphy said. “Extending this order allows us to continue taking appropriate action to protect the public health and welfare of New Jerseyans during this challenging time.”
The order extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any executive branch departments and agencies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.