March 26, 2020
Ocean City and two other Jersey Shore towns are closing their boardwalks and beaches to encourage social distancing and help control the spread of coronavirus in the state.
A state order issued Tuesday night gave New Jersey's local municipalities the authority to shut down beaches and boardwalks, reported NJ.com.
Ocean City, one of the most popular towns at the shore, is closing its beaches and boardwalk, its Mayor Jay Gillian announced Wednesday afternoon. The closures aim to encourage residents to stay indoors as even as the weather gets warmer.
"It’s clear that not everybody is taking the order to shelter in place seriously," Gillian said in a statement for NJ.com. "With the weather getting warmer, it will only get worse. I fully understand the impact that this will have on Ocean City, but I will always err on the side of caution.”
Point Pleasant Mayor Paul M. Kanitra also announced Wednesday his town's boardwalk will be closed to discourage people from going there because of the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading in the confined space of the boardwalk.
"Physical barriers will soon be placed on the Boardwalk & Inlet Parking Lot to make it impossible for the public to congregate there," Kanitra said in a Facebook post. "It is simply too narrow an area for people to keep a proper 6-foot radius around themselves at all times."
The post also announced that Point Pleasant will move to halt vacation rentals, to prevent people from leaving their homes and coming to the shore town this summer.
Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton also state that the close quarters on the boardwalk in her town poses a risk of coronavirus spreading among visitors. She made the announcement Wednesday on Facebook.
"The Mayor and Council have taken this step for the safety of our residents and visitors, as it is impossible to achieve realistic social distancing on the boardwalk," the Facebook post reads. "... We are optimistic that conditions will allow us to open our boardwalk again soon."
Beach access still will be allowed at certain locations in Spring Lake and Point Pleasant, but not in Ocean City.
These announcements follow Seaside Heights' beach closure announced Monday, which also shut down all of the business on the town's boardwalk except for those deemed essential. Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz also urged residents to stay home.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's "stay at home" order bans all gatherings, and directs state residents to stay inside except for essential activities, like grocery shopping, seeking medical attention, and social distant exercise.