Although New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has been slowly reopening the state, he is prepared to close it right back up if coronavirus cases start to spike, he said.
"We're doing it in steps and we're trying to monitor each one," he said in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo. "But if we have to pull the brakes, we will"
Murphy earlier that day announced Jersey Shore beaches and lakes across the state would begin opening May 22, in time for Memorial Day Weekend.
On Wednesday, Murphy OK'd the reopening of nonessential retail with curbside pickup, and restart of nonessential construction. Guidelines for pools and charter fishing will come next, the governor said.
"The curves that matter... they're going in the right direction," he told Cuomo. "We're starting to take baby steps."
Beaches and lakes will be limiting capacity and enforcing social distancing, Murphy said. Masks are recommended strongly but not required.
"They don't trump social distancing, but they take a close second," the governor said.
Murphy anticipates beaches will cap parking spaces at 50 percent or sell half the passes they ordinarily would to limit capacity.
If cases start to rise, "We'll have to pull back," Murphy said. "We'll have no choice."
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