NEW JERSEY – Senator Michael Doherty called for the reopening of Voorhees State Park in Hunterdon County and Fort Mott State Park in Salem County in response to an announcement that both parks will be closed until further notice due to staffing issues.
“There’s no better place to enjoy fresh air and sunshine while socially distancing than at New Jersey’s beautiful State parks,” Doherty (R-23) said. “While the governor is encouraging residents to stay local and not travel far, and with few outlets to exercise while gyms remain closed by executive order, the loss of access to these two parks will negatively impact the health and well-being of New Jerseyans. During this unprecedented year of harsh restrictions, the Murphy Administration should make every effort to ensure that residents are able to utilize all of New Jersey’s outdoor recreational areas. It’s imperative that Governor Murphy find ways to fully staff and reopen these parks.”
The Murphy Administration has advised that both State parks have been closed due to staffing issues, including a shortage of seasonal workers and attrition related to the start of the upcoming school year. Remaining park staff are being transferred to other nearby parks to support an increase in visitors related to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Doherty warned that the staffing issues cited by the NJDEP should serve as a warning sign for the difficulties other employers may face this fall if Governor Murphy closes schools, which would require more parents to stay home to care for their children.
“The NJDEP’s closure of some State parks due to staff attrition should serve as a warning for what might happen to other employers if Governor Murphy closes schools this fall,” Doherty said. “Workplaces that have reopened for business could face a new crisis when the upcoming school year starts if parents are forced to stay home with children to oversee virtual learning. Many businesses that are already struggling could face a deathblow if critical staff is unavailable to work because of more harmful executive orders.”