By MADDY VITALE
Exercising is still one of the activities allowed outdoors in New Jersey, where the cases of coronavirus continue to rise and people heed the warnings to only go out for essentials while practicing social distancing.
But just this week, a popular walkway people use to walk, bike and jog was closed to pedestrian traffic, eliminating yet another way for people to cope amid a pandemic with no definitive end.
Barricades have been erected on the shared-use walkway on the Route 52 causeway into Ocean City as part of efforts to stem the coronavirus outbreak.
“Just as the beach, Boardwalk, playgrounds and recreational facilities, the shared-use path on the Route 52 causeway is closed until further notice,” explained Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen on Wednesday.
He continued, “The closure is consistent with the governor’s executive orders prohibiting social gathering and requiring social distancing.”
Siblings Courtney and Alex Corson, of Somers Point, take their dogs for a walk daily on the bridge’s walkway.
On Wednesday, they looked at the sign on the wooden barrier at the foot of the bridge on the Somers Point side and came up with another idea for walking their dogs.
“We could just walk around our neighborhood,” said Courtney, 22, in a matter-of-fact manner. “We know it is important and the right thing to do, but it is definitely something that changes our daily activities.”
Alex, 20, said he was just happy to be out with his sister walking their dogs.
Disruption of a daily routine can be difficult, the siblings agreed, but for them, there is more to it.
“We love the walkway because the views are beautiful,” Courtney said of the spectacular panorama of wetlands, wildlife and back bays.
But like others walking their dogs, jogging or biking, the importance of social distancing was the main goal and the rules put in place by Gov. Phil Murphy and the towns were respected by the majority of people Wednesday afternoon.
There were, however, a few people who did not take the barriers seriously and simply went around them. Two bicyclists zipped by and onto the walkway Wednesday afternoon, while a jogger did the same.
On the Ocean City side of the Route 52 causeway, also known as the Ninth Street Bridge, Sean Barnes, of the Snug Harbor section of town, along with his black Labrador retriever, aptly named Harbor, were busy taking a walk in a park near Barnes’ residence.
Not being able to use the bridge walkway just meant their walk was closer to home.
“It’s just an adjustment,” Barnes said with a smile. “The Boardwalk is closed. The beach is closed. Hopefully everyone will adhere to the rules and we can get through this in as short a time as possible.”