Essex County Parks, Golf Courses Open Saturday, But Not Playgrounds, Fields or Zoo

Brookdale Park will be open Saturday, but playgrounds, tennis and fields are off limits.

It’s official – Essex County parks and golf courses that are part of the Essex County Parks System will be reopened to the public beginning on Saturday, May 2nd at 8 a.m. Parks will be open to the public for passive use only and golf courses will offer modified play, which is allowable according to the Executive Order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy. Those who visit the parks are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing.

“We are pleased to be reopening our parks and golf courses in accordance with Gov. Murphy’s Executive Order. Our County Parks always have provided an outlet for our residents to enjoy the outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise. With the weather getting warmer and after following stay-at-home guidelines, residents are anxious to find something to do and get outside,” Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., Freeholder President Brendan Gill and Vice President Wayne Richardson said. “We hope visitors to our parks enjoy our open spaces. We strongly encourage everyone to be respectful of others in our parks, wear face coverings, avoid large groups and practice social distancing. Just because our parks and golf courses are open, does not mean we have beat the Coronavirus. We must continue to be vigilant and protect ourselves as much as we can,” they stated.

Essex County Parks will be open for passive recreation only. This includes running, walking and sitting. Visitors must wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines, which require 6 feet between each person.

Playgrounds; tennis, basketball and bocce courts; dog parks; baseball, softball, soccer and football fields; exercise and par courses; Turtle Back Zoo, paddle boating at the South Mountain Recreation Complex and the Environmental Center will remain closed. Large groups of people are not allowed. In addition, all park buildings and restroom buildings will be closed. Since Turtle Back Zoo is closed, the zoo parking decks also will be closed.

Essex County golf courses – Francis Byrne Golf Course, Hendricks Field Golf Course and Weequahic Golf Course – will offer modified play in accordance with USGA COVID-19 Rules and Handicapping Guidelines. To minimize touching common surfaces, the holes have been raised so the flags do not have to be removed. Golfers will only be allowed to play in groups of 2 (instead of the usual 4) and each player must use their own golf cart. Golfers will be begin their rounds 16 minutes apart and tee times must be made through the automated tee time system at The online tee time system will be open on Friday, May 1st. Payments must be made with a credit card; no cash will be accepted. The clubhouses will be open to allow golfers to get their clubs from the locker room. Gathering will not be allowed; restrooms inside the buildings will not be open.

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