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Ocean County Parks, Golf Courses to Begin Phased Reopening: Here’s the Schedule (And Rules)

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Ocean County Park (Photo: Ocean County)
Ocean County Park (Photo: Ocean County)

Ocean County will gradually reopen its parks for passive recreation along with its golf courses starting Saturday, May 2, according to Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines.

In an announcement issued by county officials Thursday, parks that are scheduled to reopen on May 2 are:

  • Wells Mills County Park, Waretown, John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island.
  • Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood.
  • Ocean County Park and Lake Shenandoah County Park, both in Lakewood.
  • Patriots County Park, Jackson Township.
  • Freedom Fields, Little Egg Harbor Township.

Also on May 2, Ocean County Golf Course at Atlantis, in Little Egg Harbor Township and Forge Pond County Golf Course in Brick Township will be reopened for play.

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The Barnegat Branch Trail, which starts at Burr Street in Barnegat Township and travels north toward Toms River, also will be open to the public.

Playgrounds, public bathrooms, nature centers, and pavilions will remain closed to the public, as will the dog parks and some of the county’s smaller community parks.

“It’s important to note that this action in no way means the coronavirus pandemic is over,” Haines said. “Rather we want to provide safe and large open spaces for our residents to spend time outside, especially with warm weather coming, and these steps will allow that.”

At facilities that are reopened, parking will be capped at 50 percent and wearing face coverings is strongly suggested, according to the governor’s executive order, officials said.

Parks will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and social distancing will be required. The aim of the reopening is to allow walking, jogging and biking. Golf courses will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s all passive recreation which allows for social distancing,” said Haines.

Ocean County has 6,268 cases of coronavirus as of April 29.

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and Ocean County Security Department will continue to patrol all the county parks to enforce the regulations.