TRENTON, NJ – As most municipalities in New Jersey close, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has decided to reopen his city parks, prompting the question to Governor Phil Murphy today as to whether or not he supports that decision.
“We gave mayors the ability to manage their own parks,” Murphy said today. “We’re ok with that, assuming social distancing is being enforced.”
Murphy said he trusts Fulop’s decision to open Jersey City parks, but also opened the door to other mayors who have closed their municipal parks to reopen. Murphy said his office never mandated or dictated that any municipal parks be closed. Most mayors in New Jersey, when closing their parks last month, invoked Governor Murphy’s executive order, but no requirements were mandated in those orders.
Under those orders, mayors were only ordered to close playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts and could remain open for passive recreation.
Murphy also said today that his decision to close parks was based on out of state travelers coming to New Jersey and said the state’s plan to reopen will hinge heavily on the timeline of New York for business and parks. Murphy said New Jersey can’t be out of synergy with neighboring states and that the determination to re-open will be statewide and not region-based.
He made a comparison about a bar in Jersey City reopening before New York and worried it would attract out of state residents. However, that statewide stance also means that if New York City doesn’t open, neither can Cape May, Atlantic City or the Jersey Shore, many of which are an hour to two-hour drive from Manhattan.