HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – For many people, spending time in parks and dog runs has been a way to deal with the anxieties related to quarantining or socially distancing.
The closures begin at 8 a.m. Monday and include the county park, city and dog parks.
Every day, for the last two weeks, Christian Manganelli brought his dog, Max, to this dog run on Hoboken’s waterfront.
Recently laid off due to the coronavirus, it’s a way for both of them to stay sane.
“He’s just as anxious as I am,” said Manganelli. “Every day around 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., we’d come over here and see the 5, 10 dogs and he’d do his thing.”
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Monday’s changes were disappointing for little Max, but understandable. Officials are concerned about people congregating, especially as the weather gets warmer.
“No one knows where this thing is going, so any way we can sort of help ourselves, fine,” said Manganelli.
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla the decision was a difficult one to make.
“What we observed was people who are not entirely socially distancing,” he said. “Most people were, but there was some component of the public that was not conducting themselves (in a) socially responsible manner, so we had no choice.”
The mayor says city police will be monitoring the parks. If you’re found to be trespassing, you will first be issued a warning. If you continue to disobey the rules, you’ll be issued a violation that comes with a fine.
The mayor says his decisions around socially distancing have been in an effort to be proactive rather than reactive to the crisis.
Meanwhile in New York City, parks remain open despite pressure from the state to close them.
“Look, 8.6 million people in a very small space, I don’t think taking away parks is a great idea unless we have evidence that people are not following the rules,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Back in Hoboken, there are also some who wonder if closing parks will push people closer together on sidewalks, but many residents like Manganell say there are plenty of sidewalks to go around.