‘We absolutely made a difference:’ New Jersey Outdoor Alliance welcomes Gov. Murphy decision to reopen parks

Gov. Phil Murphy has given the order for parks in New Jersey to reopen Saturday morning, but with social distancing practices continuing.

News 12 Staff

May 1, 2020, 2:21 PM

Updated 1,442 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy has given the order for parks in New Jersey to reopen Saturday morning, but with social distancing practices continuing.
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The New Jersey Outdoor Alliance originally called the decision ridiculous, and they were not pleased when the governor made his decision to close state and county parks.
Gov. Murphy made the announcement to reopen Wednesday.
He closed them as way to flatten the coronavirus curve. At the time, the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance supported every social distancing decision the governor made, up until the parks were closed.
Cody McLaughlin, the groups’ vice president, is now much happier, adding he's certain his group’s efforts made the difference.
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"We absolutely made a difference,” says McLaughlin. “I would be hard-pressed to believe that no matter what he says on a conference call that, look if the governor felt like he could ignore us and the thousands of people who called in to his office and calling legislators, he simply would have ignored us."
Gov. Murphy has said the only things guiding his decisions are data and science.
"We released a plan last week that we have been working on since we shut down reports to reopen them safely, according to social distancing guidelines, that we were very vocal about pushing that,” says McLaughlin. “We're actually glad to see that he adopted a lot of those measures in his park reopening plan."
McLaughlin says none of the state's 800,000 hunters, fishermen, hikers, bikers or kayakers took part in any protest other than calling legislators.
He says they all need to, and will indeed, abide by social distancing rules in order to ensure parks remain open.
"We've cautioned all of our members and supporters to practice the same social distancing measures that we've been advising people to use," says McLaughlin.
He says the parks need more social distancing signage, as well as aggressive enforcement, so everyone can continue to enjoy the open space once again.


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