OCEAN COUNTY is ready to welcome beachgoers for the long Memorial Day weekend, but officials said social distancing measures enacted by Gov. Phil Murphy will be in place.
“All of our oceanfront towns have opened their beaches prior to the holiday, but we ask everyone to be aware of and follow the rules,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, liaison to tourism.
Every beach will require visitors to practice social distancing and remain at least six feet apart. The restriction does not apply to families, caregivers or romantic partners.
Other towns have enacted rules prohibiting certain activities on the beach, such as swimming.
“We want everyone to enjoy themselves and all Ocean County has to offer,” Vicari said. “But to ensure that the beaches remain open throughout the season, visitors and locals alike need to make adjustments for the summer of 2020.”
Some towns are still revising their beach rules and may make last-minute changes as the weekend gets closer.
“Like our good friends in Monmouth County I ask everyone to ‘know before you go’. I urge everyone to check with the municipality you are visiting to see if any revisions have been made,” Vicari said.
A listing of all county municipal websites is available on the Ocean County Homepage at http://www.co.ocean.nj.us.
The Ocean County Health Department is also doing its part to ensure bathers have a healthy summer.
The department has begun its annual beach testing programs, which surveys ocean, bay, river and lake swimming beaches weekly throughout the season to make sure the waters are clean and safe for swimming.
“We will test every swimming beach that is open from May through Labor Day,” said Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Health Department. “Our staff is ready to respond the moment a municipality decides to allow swimming at any given beach.”
A list of municipal beaches and any restrictions in place follows:
Northern Barrier Island:
• Bay Head: Beaches are open with social distancing restrictions. Beach badges are required as of June 20 and can be purchased in-person or online through the Bay Head Improvement Authority. Seasonal, half-season and daily badges are available.
Website: http://bayheadnj.org Phone: (732) 892-0636
• Berkeley Township and South Seaside Park: Beaches are open but strict social distancing measures are in place.
Berkeley Township website: www.berkeleytownship.org Phone: (732) 244-7400
• Brick Township: Brick Beach 1 and Windward Beach Park will be open to swimming on Memorial Day weekend. All beaches will be open daily beginning June 15 and will be subject to new safety measures put in place for the ongoing pandemic crisis. Seasonal badges can be purchased by calling the Recreation Department at 732-262-1044. Only check or credit cards will be accepted. The number of daily beach badges sold will be limited and cash will be accepted for daily badges and parking permits.
Website: http://www.twp.brick.nj.us Phone: (732) 262-1000
• Lavallette: Beaches are open for running, walking, fishing, and sitting. Strict social distancing must be practiced. The Boardwalk will open May 22 for walking and exercising.
Website: http://www.lavallette.org Phone: (732) 793-7477
• Mantoloking: Beaches are open. Badges are required as of June 20 and are sold by mail or at the badge trailer on Downer Avenue. Seasonal badges are $75 and no cash will be accepted.
Website: http://www.mantoloking.org Phone: (732) 475-6983
• Point Pleasant Beach: The Maryland Avenue Municipal Beach is open but restrictions on parking and the number of daily badges available are in place. Seasonal badges may be purchased online. Beach Associations have also been given the option of opening and most have chosen to do so. Only residents with placards are permitted to park on any street east of the railroad tracks. The boardwalk and Jenkinson’s Beach remained closed, but their status may be updated in the near future.
Website: http://www.pointpleasantbeach.org Phone: (732) 892-1118
• Seaside Heights: Beaches are open from 7am to 5pm with limited entry points. A seasonal or senior beach badge will be required beginning May 23. Daily badges will not be sold on the Boardwalk. No swimming is allowed. The Boardwalk is also open but will be cleared at 11 p.m. Social distancing is required for both the beach and Boardwalk. Facemasks are encouraged and Public restrooms will be open on a limited basis. All public and private parking spaces will be reduced by 50 percent.
Website: http://www.seaside-heightsnj.org Phone: (732) 793-9100
• Seaside Park: Both the beach and boardwalk are open with social distancing required. Beach badges are required on weekends only through June 29. After that date, badges are required daily. Daily badges may be limited to prevent overcrowding. Public restrooms will be open during beach operations. The Beach Control building on the boardwalk between N and O streets will be open for in-person purchases and badge pick up. Cash will not be accepted, only checks and credit cards.
Website: www.seasideparknj.org Phone: (732) 793-3700
• Toms River Township/Ortley Beach: The beaches and boardwalk are open with restrictions. Ortley Beach will be manned by lifeguards on Memorial Day weekend and weekends of June 6-7, June 13-14 and full-time commencing on June 20th. Beach badges are on sale at the Recreation Administration Office, 1810 Warren Pointe Road, Toms River, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The pre-season reduced price will be extended until June 19th. Full season beach badges are $35 at the pre-season rate and $50 after June 19th.
Website: http://www.tomsrivertownship.com Phone: (732) 341-1000
Long Beach Island:
• Barnegat Light: Beaches remain open and badges are available online via the borough’s website.
Website: http://www.BarnegatLight.org Phone: (609) 494-9196
• Beach Haven: Beaches and restrooms are open. Badges are available via an app on the borough’s website or at the Centre Street badge office.
Website: http://beachhaven-nj.gov Phone: (609) 492-0111
• Harvey Cedars: Preseason beach badges may be purchased through the borough’s website.
Website: www.harveycedars.org Phone: (609) 361-6000
• Long Beach Township: Beaches are open and seasonal beach badges can be purchased at The Beach Badge Shack on 68th Street, Brant Beach and at other locations listed on the township’s website. Badges are required on township beaches from June 1 to September 7.
Website: http://www.longbeachtownship.com Phone: (609) 361-1000
• Ship Bottom: Beach badges are for sale online and at Town Hall and are available at preseason rates through May 31.
Website: http://www.shipbottom.org Phone: (609) 494-2171
• Surf City: The borough never closed its beaches. Badges are available at Borough Hall and preseason rates are in effect through May 31.
Website: www.surfcitynj.org Phone: (609) 494-3064
While the decision to open or close beaches is a municipal one, Gov. Murphy has issued broad guidelines to keep beachgoers safe such as capacity limitations decided upon by local officials, specifically, limiting the number of beach badges sold or electronically monitoring the number of people present on a beach; social distancing measures; no large gatherings; rides and arcades will remain closed; and showers and restrooms may open, but with strict cleaning standards.
Freeholder Director Vicari again asked everyone to obey the rules.
“This is a learning experience for all of us,” he said. “Please be considerate of other families on the beach.”
Vicari said despite the necessary restrictions, 2020 still has the makings of a memorable summer at the Jersey Shore.
“Working together we can make this a great summer and end the season with treasured memories of Ocean County,” he said.