By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – In his Friday morning social media update, Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Kriebel announced the city will reopen the beach to “non-static” recreation next Friday, May 8. Ski Beach will also be open for launching and recovery of boats.
Kriebel said the decision was made by consensus following the latest Public Safety Committee meeting, which are held with the police and fire chiefs on Thursdays, he said.
“The biggest news this week was that the state would reopen its public parks and allow golfing,” Kriebel said. “We want to do that as well, but in phases.”
Kriebel said the boardwalk would remain closed, except for traversing it to access the beach.
“We really can’t do much social distancing on the boardwalk because it’s only 14 feet wide. Plus, there’s construction going on in certain areas,” he said.
Kriebel said there is enough room on the beach for the public to observe social distancing recommendations.
“We’re not out of this by a longshot,” he said. “We still have to be vigilant with our social distancing.”
The Ventnor Pier will remain closed until construction of new bathrooms is completed, hopefully, by early summer, he said.
“It’s coming along. The gates are being fabricated and we just selected the design for interior finishes,” he said.
Details are being discussed before opening other recreational amenities sometime in the future, including surfing, rowing at the Doc Holland boathouse, tennis and pickleball courts, playgrounds, etc., he said.
“The whole thing is about reducing the potential for transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” he said.
Kriebel also addressed social media posts he called “mean-spirited” that drive a wedge through the community, which includes year-round and seasonal residents.
“Using words to divide, like ‘local versus shoobie’ is simply juvenile and unkind,” he wrote in his Facebook post. “We all feel the same relief when the sun hits our skin and the saltwater hits our feet, and the same joy watching our families grow up near the sea. Dividing our shared love of Ventnor, with all its history and quirks, only reveals a mean-spirited behavior unwelcome in Ventnor, or anywhere, in this stressful and uncertain time.”
He said, “’Stay at Home’ means you, no matter where you are.”
The city is still discouraging all residents, whether full- or part-time, to refrain from unnecessary travel and having large gatherings that can contribute to the spread of the disease.
Opening Friday, May 8
Permitted activities: running, jogging, exercising, dog walking (on leash, Ord. 72-6n), must maintain social distancing
Prohibited activities: sunbathing, sitting in chairs, laying on towels, groups of people, sports, surfing
Remains closed to all activities until further notice, except for crossing to access the beach.
The beaches in Margate and Longport remain open under the same guidelines.
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