Large crowds have prompted several popular New Jersey shore towns to takes steps to limit the numbers of people on their beaches amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Belmar has capped the number of daily beach badges that can be sold to 7,500 per day, while Manasquan set a limit of 1,000 per day on Saturdays and Sundays for any type of beach badge, NJ.com reported.
Mike Mangan, president of the Manasquan council, said if beach managers think it's warranted, “certain beaches that have reached capacity will be closed to further access and patrons will be directed to less crowded beaches.”
Message boards have been programmed to alert beachgoers arriving in town that badge sales have been halted and that the beach parking lots are at capacity when that occurs, he said.
In Belmar, a notice from the borough's office of emergency management says the new policy will “fluctuate to a lower number” depending on the number of seasonal badge holders on beaches as well as the tides on any given day.
Belmar officials said beachgoers are still being asked to practice social distancing and are being reminded that playing sports that involve a ball are “strictly prohibited.”
In Long Branch, where beaches near the popular Pier Village shopping area were swamped a week ago, officials announced two measures aimed at stemming overcrowding. Officials said beaches would close earlier and more frequently and people would no longer be able to use an app to buy beach badges.
In other coronavirus-related news from New Jersey:
New Jersey officials are announcing another 16 deaths associated with COVID-19, raising the state's total to 13,725 lives lost.
Gov. Phil Murphy said Saturday the state is reporting more than 300 new positive cases, pushing New Jersey's cumulative total to more than 176,800.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.