NJ water parks were cleared to reopen on July 2. Photo courtesy Raging Waters Water Park in Wildwood
NJ water parks were cleared to reopen on July 2. Photo courtesy Raging Waters Water Park in Wildwood

NJ Amusement Parks, Water Parks, and Playgrounds Allowed to Reopen

New Jersey's amusement parks, water parks, and playgrounds can reopen on July 2 with new restrictions in place. NJ Governor Phil Murphy made the announcement Tuesday, June 23, at his daily coronavirus briefing as the state continues to reopen businesses temporarily closed due to the ongoing health crisis.

The amusement park reopenings, which come just ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend, include the Jersey Shore's popular boardwalk rides, theme parks, and water parks. Some boardwalk games and outdoor eateries had already reopened, and Governor Murphy said he expects to release guidelines on indoor amusements, such as arcades, as soon as tomorrow.

Theme parks and water parks can reopen at 50% capacity and with strict new cleaning and social distancing rules in place, the governor said. Face coverings will be required for both staff and attendees. Distance markers will show patrons how to stand 6 feet apart in lines and such. 

"Rides will be configured to ensure 6 feet distance between groups and must be frequently sanitized," Murphy said at the briefing. Additional guidelines for these reopenings will also be released shortly, he said.

The news came as New Jersey enters its so-called Phase 2 of reopening and continues to keep its positive case count low, as well as its hospitalizations due to COVID-19 low. Murphy has already allowed or scheduled the reopening of a number of NJ businesses and family-friendly attractions, including:

Beaches / NJ Shore (reopened)

Outdoor Restaurant Dining (reopened)

Daycares (reopened)

NJ Summer Camps (reopening July 6)

Indoor Dining (reopening July 2)

Salons

NJ Zoos (reopened)

Shopping Malls (reopening June 29)

NJ Swimming Pools (reopened)


NJ playgrounds may also open on July 2. Photo by Mommy Poppins

"The only reason we're comfortable making these announcements this week is because...social distancing allowed us to crush the curve," Murphy said. "I would add face coverings to that list."

The governor pointed to the state's current low rate of transmission of under 1% and an under 2% daily positive test rate as he made the announcements. Total coronavirus cases in the state currently stand at 169,734, and New Jersey was initially one of the hardest-hit states, along with New York. Murphy did say that the rate of transmission is "creeping back up in too many counties," and that he hopes New Jersey residents won't "get complacent" and give up on social distancing.

Judy Persichilli, New Jersey's health commissioner, said the number of infections in young people has jumped, too. In the 18 to 29-year-old age group, cases have jumped from 12% in April to 22% in June, she said during the briefing. There have been more than 50 COVID-19-related deaths in this age group and 640 hospitalizations.

"People of any age can get severe illness from COVID-19," she said. "We are still concerned about this trend."

Find a NJ coronavirus testing site or additional info at covid19.nj.gov/testing. There are 251 testing sites throughout the state.

We should note that it was not immediately clear which playgrounds and theme parks would open on July 2; as we've seen in other states, not all businesses are always able to reopen immediately or at all. We will continue to update you as we find out!

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