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Monmouth County legislators call on Gov. to reopen state, county parks

One day after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the closure of all state and county parks in New Jersey in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, three Republican legislators from Monmouth County urged him to reverse his decision.

In an April 8 press release, Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger called on Murphy to rescind his Executive Order mandating the closure of all state and county park spaces to the public.

Failure to comply with the order carries a penalty, according to the legislators.

“We understand we are in unprecedented times, as well as the necessity for certain measures to be put into effect to curb exposure to and cases of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this Executive Order forcing the closure of state and county parks takes things to a new level – one that we frankly should not be reaching.

“We have hit a saturation point where residents have almost every single ounce of movement and activity unilaterally restricted.

“Making this move now will negatively impact overall physical welfare and crush the mental well-being of residents, especially those already completely over-stressed, as well as members of our special needs community,” the legislators said.

“The fact is, the vast majority of New Jerseyans grasp the seriousness of combating the virus and have overwhelmingly been willing to compromise and comply. Yet, they are now being penalized due to the bad actions of just a few. The governor should be basing this decision on this reality, rather than reacting to an unproven narrative.

“This directive is simply too punitive; we have faith in our residents to keep to the recommendations as well as to social distancing guidelines. Why? Because they already have been doing so for weeks now.

“If we have situations where some are not complying, then there should be action, but only on those few and not on all New Jerseyans. This latest move is far too much, so we call on the governor to share the same faith we have in our residents and reopen our parks,” O’Scanlon, DiMaso and Scharfenberger said.

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