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Island Beach State Park to Close Under New State Order

Island Beach State Park, one of the last bastions of outdoor recreation in the shore area, will close to the public under a state order issued Tuesday.

The order takes effect at 8 p.m. Tuesday night. The closure does not just shutter the park, located in South Seaside Park, but is an extension of existing social distancing rules that will now include all state parks and forests as well as county parks. Ocean County had already closed its parks before the order was announced Tuesday.

In a statement, Gov. Phil Murphy said the closure was prompted by too many park visitors not practicing the states social distancing standards amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

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“My Administration’s top priority is to flatten the curve of new COVID-19 cases, so we do not create a surge within our health care systems and overwhelm the health care professionals who are managing our response on the frontlines,” Murphy said. “We have seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups and by closing these areas, we are further limiting public interactions to only the most essential purposes. Data shows that our aggressive efforts to flatten the curve are beginning to make a difference; however, we must continue our push to flatten it to the point where our day-over-day increase is zero.”

 The order, however, does not preclude individual municipalities from keeping parks open within their own jurisdictions.

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