HOWELL, NJ – All parks in Howell Township are closed until further notice, according to municipal officials.
In a Tuesday evening notice to residents, Howell Township Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Victor Cook announced that the closure comes as part of the municipality’s declared state of emergency, due in part to the recent spike in COVID cases paired with a “large number” of complaints about crowded area parks.
“Parks are filled to capacity, with users not social distancing and with most individuals not adhering to the Executive Order 107 and not wearing mask [sic],” Cook wrote.
“Any individual not adhering to this closing, could face a fine under the local state of Emergency and Executive order 107. ALL PARKS SHALL REMAIN CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.”
The notice comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Monmouth and Ocean counties in recent weeks. Howell Township has reported 25 new positive cases since last week (Sept. 29-Oct. 6), jumping from 896 to 921, according to the latest countywide report.
The surprise announcement sparked a subsequent debate on social media over whether the parks should be closed, especially during the last weeks of temperate weather before winter. Several other area locals reported sports teams being kicked off playing fields earlier in the day.
Howell Township Councilman John Bonevich took to Facebook Tuesday night to ease resident tensions, assuring that “over the next few days the township will be discussing how to better handle this situation and get our kids out on the fields for fall ball, soccer and football. Stay tuned.”
Hey Howell we took a tough hit today with an uptick in cases in the area. While I agree closing our parks there needs to...
Posted by John" class="redactor-linkify-object">https://www.facebook.com/Counc... Bonevich, Howell NJ Councilman on Tuesday, October 6, 2020
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