Coronavirus News: Warm weather presents challenges as NJ parks, golf courses reopen this weekend

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A beautiful spring weekend has some officials on edge as New Jersey prepares to open parks and golf courses at sunrise Saturday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The weather forecast is right up a golfer's alley, perfect timing, those itching to get outside say, and courses have been getting the greens ready -- with the governor's words in mind.

There will be a few conditions placed on reopening: parking lots at parks and courses must be capped at 50% capacity; playgrounds and restrooms at parks will be closed; picnics and other gatherings will not be permitted.

State officials will be keeping an eye on social distancing

"I'm happy at one level that we're able to take this step, but we will enforce this," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Murphy said county governments have the authority to decide whether county parks will reopen, and some municipalities like Hoboken are not reopening all their parks just yet, saying they're not yet certain that public health is not being put at unnecessary risk.

As for golf courses, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Golf Association Kevin Purcell says the organization has been keeping golfers informed about the rules to reopening during this health crisis so they won't be ordered shuttered again.

Murphy ordered parks closed April 7 after he said there were too many people congregating and failing to socially distance. Golf courses were considered nonessential businesses, which have been closed since March. But that changes this weekend.

"For passive recreation, including running, hiking, biking, fishing, boating, kayaking and horseback riding, come Saturday morning our state parks will be open once again," Murphy said.

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