Senator Kip Bateman joined a growing chorus of lawmakers and groups calling on the State of New Jersey to reopen State and county parks during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Bateman released the following statement this morning:
“As the weather gets nicer, people will want to get outdoors, especially after being cooped up at home for so long,” said Bateman (R-16). “In this time of uncertainty, we should encourage folks to go outside and explore their local park while practicing safe social distancing. With fresh air and exercise being so important to our physical health, mental health, and overall well-being, I am calling for our parks to be reopened as soon as possible.”
On April 7, all State and county parks within the New Jersey were ordered to close indefinitely.
Yesterday, the NJ Outdoor Alliance blasted blasting the closures as ‘ridiculous’ and that ‘key components of healthful solitary recreation are now being sacrificed on the altar of fear and good headlines. It’s asinine, plain and simple.’ Assemblyman Parker Space slammed the park closures, saying ‘I’ve about had enough!!’. The LD24 legislators released a statement this afternoon calling for the reopening of parks. Sussex County Freeholder Dawn Fantasia led the entire freeholder board in a letter (embedded below) to Governor Murphy urging him to re-examine his executive order closing the parks.
Bateman’s call indicates a possible growing backlash against closing parks (state and county; municipal parks are at the discretion of towns). Other Republicans have also condemned the closures, according to NJ.com.
“With the expanses of our parks closed, people will be more likely to cram into the few places where they can walk, run, and exercise,” added Bateman. “This is an avoidable public safety hazard. Individuals shouldn’t be forced to walk on our roadways.
“Allowing New Jersey families to go to local parks will help residents safely enjoy the great outdoors.”