All parks in Hamilton Township will close indefinitely as of 8 p.m. tonight.
Mayor Jeff Martin said that the closure is in reaction to an announcement by Gov. Phil Murphy earlier in the day that he was closing all historic sites and state and county parks, including Mercer County Park.
“We’ve seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups. We need to #FlattenTheCurve,” said Murphy in a post on Twitter regarding his executive order.
Martin decided a short time after Murphy’s announcement to follow suit. He said that his order pertains not only to Veterans Park and Sayen Gardens, but all “neighborhood” parks within the community.
“While I wanted all parks to remain open, I am concerned that if our parks remain open, they would not be able to safely handle the additional visitors,” Martin said in a social media post. “It would put your safety, and the safety of our parks employees, in jeopardy and I cannot take that chance.”
He added: “Please continue to keep up your social and physical distancing, washing your hands, and abiding by all CDC recommendations. By all of us working together, we will get through this together. You all continue to make me #HamiltonProud!”
Martin on March 23 barred people from playgrounds and dog parks in the community, but opted to keep the parks open. He urged everyone to continue safe social distancing practices.
In Veterans Park, the township placed yellow caution tape on playground and exercise equipment to dissuade people from using them.
Despite the tape, there have been reports of people continuing to use the equipment and climbing the fences to gain access to the skate park.
Many people also used the pathways through the park to walk, jog and bike, most of them taking care to maintain a six-foot separation from other park-goers.