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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Parks’ Swings, Slides Empty

Yellow tape warns youngsters away from one of Avalon's playgrounds due to COVID-19 executive orders from the governor.

By Rachel Rogish

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
NORTH WILDWOOD – It’s the ordinary activities that people miss: brunch with friends, shaking hands and the sight of children at playgrounds.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, parks across Cape May County are closed, including playgrounds and public exercise equipment. Yet, opportunities abound, according to local officials, if one thinks outside of the box.
“Mental health is important,” North Wildwood City Administrator Ron Simone said March 30.
Although all city parks are closed, the beaches remain open for some activities. These include running, jogging, surfing and walking the seawall; residents can still take advantage of these amenities until 8 a.m.
As “cabin fever” mounts, how can local families find outdoor activities while maintaining social distancing?
Simone suggests walking and enjoying the fresh air with loved ones. Talk about what you see around you and take advantage of nature.
“Please practice social distancing and wash your hands. Please be kind, we are all in this together,” read a March 21 Facebook post from North Wildwood Recreation and Tourism.
Dealing with the everyday ramifications of COVID-19 is no stranger to Wildwood City Commissioner Krista Fitzsimons. As commissioner, Fitzsimons is committed to helping enforce social distancing. As a mother, Fitzsimons stands committed to helping her children stay active.
“Use common sense,” Fitzsimons said March 30.
As a fellow parent, she encourages parents to go out with their children of all ages and enjoy what is still available. Fitzsimons’ son rides his skateboard.
Although Fox Park and its amenities are closed, Maxwell Field remains open, providing residents with the running track and grass areas. Yet, the field is monitored, Fitzsimmons said, and social distancing is enforced.
“We (Wildwood) don’t want Maxwell Field to become a gathering place,” Fitzsimons said. Teenagers are not permitted to “hang out” in groups at the field.
According to Fitzsimons, sitting on a park bench is also beneficial while social distancing is observed.
“Check on your neighbors,” Fitzsimons said. “It’s a good thing for the kids.”
Involving children in caring for others is “good social skills,” she added.
How long could social restrictions last in Cape May County?
Wildwood Crest Mayor Don Cabrera said, “We (Crest) will open when we can.” As borough parks are closed, playground equipment will be sanitized before restrictions are lifted.
“It’s healthy to get outside,” Cabrera said March 30. As grass areas remain open, Cabrera recommends activities such as kick-ball, baseball and walking..
“Try to honor social distancing,” Cabrera admonished. “We have room to distance.”
In Cape May, the beaches and promenade have been closed as of March 31 “until further notice,” according to the press release (https://bit.ly/39yOUdf).
Mayor Clarence Lear has not commented on suggestions for families as of April 1.
To contact Rachel Rogish, email rrogish@cmcherald.com

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