Several Jersey shore beaches reopening with limited access amid COVID-19 outbreak

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Friday, May 8, 2020
Several Jersey shore beaches reopening with limited access amid COVID-19 outbreak
Several Jersey shore beaches are reopening with limited access amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

AVALON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Some shore towns in New Jersey reopened Friday for limited access after being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wildwood, North Wildwood, Avalon and Stone Harbor have all announced their plans concerning the public's return to the beach.

In a letter from the mayors of Avalon and Stone Harbor to their communities Monday, the boroughs announced limited access to their beaches for walking, running, fishing, and surfing from dawn to dusk will begin Friday morning.

Mayors Martin Pagliuighi and Judith Davies-Dunhour said no stationary activity, including sitting on chairs or blankets, will be allowed.

"You can walk and run but you can't sit still?," laughed Mays Landing resident John O'Neill. "I think it's crazy."

Social distancing regulations must be followed.

"The beaches will be patrolled to make sure that social distancing practices are followed and there are no large groups of people gathered. All regular beach regulations continue to apply. We ask that you follow these temporary rules. Unfortunately, if they are not followed, we will again close our beaches," the mayors said.

All other public spaces in Avalon and Stone Harbor will remain closed, including playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, boardwalks, libraries, and recreation centers.

The mayors said, "This limited beach access accommodation is intended to provide an open space for individuals to get exercise, see the beach and ocean, and have a relaxing experience."

Complete beach access, allowing for picnics and swimming, will be determined at a later date.

North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello and Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron also announced their beaches would reopen Friday.

"On Friday, May 8, 2020 the Boardwalk will reopen for walking, running, biking, etc. In addition, our beaches, parks and playgrounds will also reopen," Rosenello said.

North Wildwood and Atlantic City will allow sunbathing as long as visitors practice social distancing.

But when it comes to short-term rentals, those restrictions have been left up to counties or municipalities.

North Wildwood and Wildwood are also announcing that short-term or transient rentals may resume effective Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Decisions regarding the reopening of retail and food service in the town have not been announced.

Cape May County banned short term rentals last month, but will allow short term rentals to resume on June 1.

RELATED: Some New Jersey beach towns to allow rentals after Memorial Day

The Borough of Wildwood Crest reopened its beach, parks and the bike path to the public, with some restrictions on May 2.

With Memorial Day weekend coming up, Governor Phil Murphy is still asking people with vacation homes to stay away from the shore and stop renting them out until the state of emergency orders are lifted.

Officials reminded residents that the state of emergency and stay-at-home orders remain in effect in New Jersey.

Meanwhile, when it comes the shore reopening, Pennsylvania officials recommend residents not to travel into New Jersey and pack the beaches.

"Going into New Jersey can have risks because New Jersey has had a very high incidence of COVID-19 and if you go to shore, I bet you other people will go to the shore, and then it will be almost impossible to practice social distancing," Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said Thursday.

The following beach communities are also allowing residents and visitors to access the beach with restrictions that including walking, running, fishing and (except in the case of Ventnor) surfing: Ventnor, Margate, Avalon, Stone Harbor, Cape May, Longport and Wildwood.

Beaches in Sea Isle and Ocean City remain closed.


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