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TRENTON - Swimming at state-owned ocean and lake beaches this weekend will remain closed, but visitors are welcome to enjoy passive recreation while maintaining a 6-foot social distance from others and wearing face masks or coverings, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe announced May 23.

According to a release, as part of the continued phase-in of park operations, the State Park Service is actively preparing for the summer swimming season.

"We recognize that some visitors to our beautiful beaches and lakes may be disappointed that swimming is not yet permitted, but we remind the public that there are many other wonderful passive recreation opportunities to enjoy with their families," Commissioner McCabe stated. "New Jersey's parks are great for hiking, birdwatching, riding bicycles and much more."

When visiting a state park or forest this weekend, visitors are reminded:

. To bring a face covering to wear if needed. Visitors should wear face coverings whenever it is difficult or impossible to maintain a social distance of 6 feet.

. Grills and picnic areas cannot be used at this time, and personal grills may not be brought to parks or beaches. However, visitors are welcome to bring cold lunches for picnicking on blankets.

. To regularly check the New Jersey State Parks Facebook page for status updates on the phased reopening of operations within parks including restrooms and swimming operations as they become available.

State Park Police and parks staff will be out to enforce the no swimming restriction and parking rules, which will remain at 50 percent to maintain proper social distancing.

On May 20, the DEP launched a communications campaign, known as "Mask Up," which features a series of posters and social media content that remind and explain to the public why it is important to bring and wear face coverings to protect each other when visiting the state's open spaces.

This weekend, visitors to state parks, beaches and lakes are encouraged to take selfies while wearing masks or face coverings and post them to their personal Facebook and Instagram pages, or to the DEP's Twitter feed @NewJerseyDEP using the hashtags #IHeartNJParks and #MaskUp.

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