Essex County announced this afternoon that county parks and golf courses will be re-opened to the public on Saturday, May 2 at 8 a.m. Verona Park is part of the Essex County parks system.
The county specified that the parks will be open for passive recreation only, which means sitting, hiking and walking are permitted, but not organized sports like basketball, baseball and soccer. Golf courses will follow the rules issued by Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday, which require golfers to use an electronic or telephone reservation system and stagger tee times to be 16 minutes apart, among other changes. Both park visitors and golfers will be required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
New Jersey’s state parks and forests will also re-open on Saturday.
Many features in the county parks will remain closed, including bathrooms and playgrounds; tennis, basketball and bocce courts; dog parks; sports fields; and exercise and par courses. Turtle Back Zoo, paddle boating at the South Mountain Recreation Complex and the Environmental Center will also remain closed and there can be no large gatherings.
The three county golf courses–Francis Byrne, Hendricks Field and Weequahic–will offer modified play in accordance with USGA COVID-19 rules, and holes have been raised so the flags do not have to be touched or removed. Golfers can only play in groups of two and each player must use their own golf cart. The online tee time system will open on Friday, May 1. Payments must be made with a credit card only. The clubhouses will be open only to allow golfers to get their clubs from the locker room.
UPDATE: Verona posted Friday on the municipal Instagram page that all township and school athletic fields and playgrounds, including the basketball courts, tennis courts and the track at HBW will remain closed until further notice. The town says it will be enforcing the ban and that trespassers may be issued a summons.