June 23, 2020
Outdoor amusement and water parks in New Jersey have been given the go-ahead to reopen at 50% capacity starting July 2. That includes boardwalk rides at the Jersey Shore.
New Jersey officials are currently putting together health and safety guidelines for these entertainment facilities, Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday. Playgrounds also can reopen next week.
Murphy credited the residents for their social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it has led to the reopening of such activities. He encouraged residents to continue staying six feet apart and to wear face coverings.
"Be smart and courteous," Murphy said. "The world isn’t about you. Don’t be the knucklehead who ruins it for everyone else."
Amusement parks have been closed since mid-March. As beaches and boardwalks along the Jersey Shore reopened last month, amusement parks, water parks and arcades were instructed to remain closed. Last week, Murphy gave all other outdoor recreational and entertainment businesses the green light to reopen.
Morey's Piers and Water Parks in Wildwood announced on Tuesday that it will reopen to the public next Thursday with a number of COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.
"As you expect, we will be operating under new 'normal for now' guidelines and standards, therefore, a visit to the piers will be different this summer," Will and Jack Morey said in a statement. "Even so, our team is working diligently to prepare our facilities with a strong line-up of rides and attractions for the remainder of the 2020 season."
Six Flags Great Adventure announced on Wednesday that the Ocean County-based theme park will reopen next Friday first to Six Flags members and Season Pass holders, followed by the general public on July 4. A plethora of coronavirus health and safety protocols will be in place.
“Six Flags Great Adventure and Hurricane Harbor are beloved outdoor destinations for so many in the Northeast, and we look forward to welcoming families back to our parks," said Six Flags Great Adventure and Hurricane Harbor Park President John Winkler. "The safety of our guests and team members remains our number one priority, and the new safety guidelines we have put in place are designed to create a safe environment for everyone."
New Jersey is now in the second step of its three-phase restart and recovery plan.
Outdoor dining, in-person retail shopping and childcare services all resumed last week. Personal care businesses, such as hair, nail and tanning salons, reopened Monday. So did swimming pools, organized sports and camping in some state parks, forests and recreation centers.
Shopping malls can reopen Monday, but food courts, movie theaters and seating areas must remain closed. Limited instruction at colleges and universities across New Jersey can restart July 1. Indoor dining can resume, and casinos and racetracks can reopen on July 2. Youth day camps are set to resume on July 6.
The limit on outdoor gatherings has been increased from 100 people to 250 people, and there are no capacity restrictions for religious or political activities that take place outdoors. The capacity limit for outdoor gatherings is expected to increase to 500 people by July 4.
The limit on indoor gatherings has been increased from 50 people to 100 people or 25% capacity — whichever number is lower.
When New Jersey enters Stage 3, most activities and businesses will be allowed to resume with safety measures in place.