Playland's Castaway Cove, Morey's Piers ready for visitors with safety as top priority

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Amusement parks in South Jersey say they are ready for visitors ahead of a much-anticipated reopening on July 4th weekend.

The coronavirus forced a shutdown in March up and down the New Jersey coast, but on Tuesday, Governor Phil Murphy delivered an announcement many were waiting for as summer kicks into gear.

"Today, we are announcing that outdoor amusement parks and water parks will be able to reopen next Thursday, July 2. This includes the rides on our boardwalks," said Murphy.

Murphy said it is anticipated that all amusement parks and water parks will be capped at 50% capacity, and all guests and workers must wear face masks.

At Playland's Castaway Cove in Ocean City, Vice President Brian Hartley says he has been waiting since Palm Sunday weekend to reopen.

READ MORE: New Jersey outdoor amusement parks, water parks and playgrounds to reopen July 2

"We started training yesterday, we did a lot of our hiring back in the spring. We were able luckily hit most of the job fairs before the shutdown happened,," said Hartley, who plans to reopen July 2 at 5 p.m.

"We've installed hand sanitizing stations at every entry point and exit point for every ride, as well as others throughout the park," Hartley said.

Hartley says they are waiting to find out more guidance on Wednesday from the governor, including other necessary precautions, like temperature checks and ride sanitization.

Hartley also oversees a miniature golf course on the boardwalk as well as a go-kart ride nearby.

Both boardwalk attractions reopened recently and strict procedures are in place.

"We're cleaning our go-karts in between every ride. We have two pits of cars, so we alternate and clean one in between the other ride. Same thing with the golf courses-- we're cleaning every club after it comes in and before it goes back into the rack. Same thing with the balls," said Hartley.

Down in Wildwood, officials at Morey's Pier says they too are opening on July 2 but are awaiting more guidance from the State.

"We are working hard to redefine family fun this summer and are further expanding our commitment to safety and cleanliness starting with our Safe Play Promise," said Morey's in a statement.

"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. 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," Morey's added.

Operators should expect that rides will be confined to a six-foot distance between groups, and distance markers will be placed six feet apart in lines. Rides must also be frequently sanitized.

Officials at Morey's say they have over 500 seasonal jobs available.

Online applications are being accepted at: https://www.moreyspiers.com/jobs/summer-jobs or by texting SUMMER to 855-760-3700

The state reported nearly 400 new case since Monday, for a total of 169,000 positive cases. There were 57 more deaths reported since Monday putting the overall death toll at 12,949.

The new openings come just a day after the governor said casinos and indoor dining could restart also on July 2, but at 25% capacity. The state is in Stage 2 of three of reopening from the virus.
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