Behavior at parks, golf courses will determine other NJ reopenings, Murphy says

By KYW Newsradio 1060

UPDATED: 3:25 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio/AP) — As New Jersey prepares to open parks and golf courses this weekend, Gov. Phil Murphy is pleading with people to comply with the new rules. 

If crowds get too large, the governor insists he’s ready to close them again. But he really doesn’t want to do that.

“I recognize we all want to be out in the fresh air and sunshine. That includes me, by the way. But we are not out of the woods yet. We all still have to use common sense,” he said Friday.

By now, the social distancing guidelines should be second nature, and they’ll still be in effect. There will be a significant police presence, too, to ensure compliance. 

--STATE PARKS WILL REOPEN TOMORROW--What you need to know:--Playgrounds, visitor centers, pavilions, restrooms will remain closed--Parking will be capped at 50%--Social distancing will be mandated--NO picnics, organized activities, team sportsMore: https://t.co/xk2BXZjn4u pic.twitter.com/ymvx0Ax9Eu

— New Jersey (@NJGov) May 1, 2020

If things go well, more outdoor venues might open up. Beaches are up to the shore towns, but the state plans to provide some guidance soon.

Parks and golf courses reopen Saturday at sunrise. Masks are not required, Murphy said, but are recommended.

As for the schools, Murphy expects to make an announcement early next week. New York joined Pennsylvania and Delaware in cancelling a return to the classroom for the rest of the academic year.

New Jersey officials reported more than 121,000 total positive test results for coronavirus on Friday, resulting in more than 7,500 deaths statewide. In South Jersey alone, there are more than 10,000 cases and 438 deaths.

New Jersey recorded more deaths from COVID-19 than New York for the second consecutive day Friday.

Hospitalizations are up in South Jersey but starting to level off a little. Still, Murphy is encouraged.

It’s this simple: Data determines dates.When we see our benchmarks on key factors, like testing or hospitalizations, we can begin considering a specific timetable.Data determines dates.

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 1, 2020

“The numbers are showing positive trends and these are the trends we will need to see carried over in the coming weeks if we are to put ourselves on that road back and begin the restart of our economy,” he said.

Prison testing

New Jersey will begin to test all inmates and Department of Corrections staff in the state for the coronavirus.

The testing will be done along with Rutgers University's Correctional Healthcare and Accurate Diagnostics Lab and use the university's new saliva test. Current tests are done using invasive nose or throat swabs. The saliva test requires only spitting into a tube, Rutgers has said.

About 8,000 staff and 18,000 inmates will undergo testing, according to the governor. It's unclear when the testing will begin.

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KYW Newsradio's David Madden and Eric Walter, as well as the Associated Press, contributed to this report.