Governor announces that Jersey Shore and lake shores will be open in time for Memorial Day weekend

The boardwalk and beach at Ocean Grove.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Thursday that he is issuing an executive order reopening the Jersey Shore and lakeshores in the state in time for the Memorial Day weekend. The governor’s executive order takes effect on Friday, May 22.

The regulations apply to all beach fronts in the state. Local municipalities can’t limit public beach access to only certain visitors or keep public beaches closed.

Social distancing measures requiring at least six-feet between people have been extended to beaches with the order. Murphy is asking residents to wear masks at the beach when possible, especially when ordering food from a food stall on the boardwalk.

Organized games, contact sports, summer camps, and special events like concerts, festivals, and fireworks that draw people to the beach are forbidden. Boardwalk restaurants are allowed to remain open for takeout and delivery only. Rides, arcades, games and other draws remain closed. Amusement parks, arcades, playgrounds, visitor centers, and water fountains also remain closed.

“This is not a life sentence here,” Murphy said. “We could have a dramatically different reality a month from today.”

Every beach will be required to establish capacity limitations, but local leaders will determine the method to be used to determine beach capacity, such as limiting the number of available beach tags for any given day or using technology to conduct geographic spatial analysis.

Shower pavilions, changing rooms and restrooms at beaches must be cleaner regularly.

Murphy also announced that restroom facilities at state parks will reopen. He said it could take park workers some time to open those facilities.