TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — As New Jersey surges through Stage 2 of reopening, Gov. Phil Murphy announced more openings on Tuesday that will make children and parents especially happy.

Speaking during his daily coronavirus media briefing, the governor said all amusement parks and water parks will be open at 50% capacity on July 2.

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In addition, rides on the state’s many boardwalks will be open, as will playgrounds.

“With next week’s July 4 holiday weekend rapidly approaching and with families rightfully looking for ways to enjoy their time off together, we wanted to make it known that, yes, the rides will be in operation. But moreover, we want everyone to enjoy their time together responsibly,” Murphy said.

He cautioned that strict safety protocols will be put in place, including use of personal protection equipment, and everyone must follow proper hygiene and social distancing guidelines.


Murphy said the reason New Jersey is progressing nicely through reopening stages is because residents have been diligent about getting tested, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing.

“Social distancing is the only thing that has allowed us to crush the curves. I would add face coverings to that over the past three months. That has allowed us to catch up to a virus that has no vaccine, and no proven therapeutic,” Murphy said. “And I know the last thing anyone wants is a face covering tan. I know many people think that just because the weather is hot, they can’t catch the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. And I know many young people think this virus is an afterthought. In every case, I hate to tell you, you’re wrong.”

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The governor said the state reported 382 new positive cases on Monday, bringing the overall total to 169,734 since the pandemic started in mid-March. Murphy also said the state’s most recent daily positivity rate was at 1.96%, which marked the first time it had fallen below 2%.

He added New Jersey has made good progress compared to other states slowing the rate of infection, currently recording just three new cases per day per 100,00 residents, 37th in the country.

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Murphy did caution, however, that New Jersey is still among the states with the highest number patients in the hospital per 100,000 residents (eighth in the U.S.) and deaths per day per 100,000 residents (fifth).

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There were 52 new deaths on Monday, upping the state’s overall total to 12,949, a number, Murphy said, that is “nearly twice as many people lost to the flu in the last five years combined.”