By MADDY VITALE
In a boost for the Ocean City Boardwalk, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that outdoor amusement parks, water parks and playgrounds may reopen July 2 after a lengthy shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Murphy said in a tweet that there will be a limit of 50 percent capacity and face coverings will be required.
The governor also emphasized the importance of social distancing. “Keep your distances. Wear your masks. Be smart and courteous — the world isn’t about you. Don’t be a knucklehead who ruins it for everyone else,” he tweeted.
Also in the tweet, Murphy noted that the specifics for reopening would be announced later.
“This includes the rides on our boardwalks. Specific guidance is currently being finalized and will be forthcoming,” he said.
Murphy made the announcement a day after Ocean City’s Boardwalk Merchants Association sent a letter to his office urging the governor to allow the reopening of amusement parks and water parks.
On Tuesday, the Boardwalk Merchants Association followed up with a statement commending the governor for his decision to reopen the amusements and water parks “just in time for the Fourth of July holiday.”
“Our member amusement parks – and all merchants on the Boardwalk – are prepared to open safely with hygiene and social distancing protocols in place,” the statement said. “We urge all visitors to follow all local, state and CDC guidelines when visiting Boardwalk shops, restaurants and amusement facilities. That includes wearing a mask, maintaining six feet from people not in your family and frequently washing your hands.”
The statement added, “We will continue to work with the Governor to permit arcades to open with safeguards in place, just as he has allowed casinos to open beginning July 2.”