Ocean County Press Release
OCEAN COUNTY IS scheduled to reopen its Parks and Recreation Nature and Visitor Centers July 9.
"In closely working with our Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation staff, I am pleased that we are reopening these centers to the public," said Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, Chairwoman of the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. "However as we continue to work with the threat of the coronavirus we must put restrictions in place for the protection of our visitors and staff.
"It's essential our visitors follow the rules that have been developed for everyone's safety," she said.
Haines noted that the first hour that centers are open will be exclusively for senior citizens and the vulnerable population.
"Face masks will be mandatory inside the nature and visitor centers and capacity at each site will be limited to 25 percent," she said.
In addition, visitors are asked to observe social distancing by remaining six feet apart and individual groups should make every effort to stay together.
"We will also implement time limits when necessary so everyone has an opportunity to visit these park facilities," she said.
The nature and visitor centers that will be opening July 9 and their respective hours are:
• The Cooper Environmental Center at Cattus Island County Park, 1170 Cattus Island Blvd., Toms River, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.
• Jake's Branch County Park Nature Center, 1100 Double Trouble Road, Beachwood, will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.
• Wells Mills County Park Nature Center, 905 Route 532, Waretown, will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.
• Cloverdale Farm County Park Visitor Center, 34 Cloverdale Road, Barnegat Township, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Haines also announced the reopening of the Cedar Bridge Tavern County Historical Site on Cedar Bridge Road in Barnegat Township.
"Going forward, the Cedar Bridge Tavern will be open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays," she said.
Ocean County began to gradually reopen its parks beginning May 2 following guidelines from the state and health experts. By May 22 all Ocean County parks, including off-leash dog parks, had been reopened to the public.
On July 2 the spray park at the John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park at Berkeley Island along with the playgrounds located at 14 other Ocean County parks were reopened.
Bathroom facilities are available at all County park sites and visitors using them must be wearing a face covering. Face coverings are strongly recommended when accessing the dog parks at Ocean County Airpark in Berkeley Township and Ocean County Park, Lakewood and all of the parks in the county system.
Haines noted that Ocean County continues to adjust the restrictions at its parks and golf courses as time goes on and at the direction of health experts and the state.
"We reopened our facilities gradually in order to make sure we had the appropriate amount of staff and that everyone had been trained in order to meet the new requirements that we have implemented for sanitizing our facilities and also monitoring attendance so as to meet the requirements of Gov. Murphy's executive orders," Haines said. "We look forward to the day when we don't have to limit the number of visitors using our nature centers and other attractions but for now, out of an abundance of caution, we will do all we can to make visiting our parks and centers enjoyable as we continue to stress safety and the health of our visitors and our staff.
"Each of our parks offers unique features and a great opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty Ocean County has to offer," she said.
Ocean County closed its parks and natural lands to the public on March 31 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and based on the mandates from President Trump and Gov. Murphy for social distancing and stay at home orders.
As of July 7, Ocean County has a cumulative total of 9,738 cases of Covid 19.