WHILE clothing is optional at a popular nude beach in New Jersey, masks are still required amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Gunnison Beach in Sandy Hook, a beachy town located roughly 50 miles south of New York City, is the Garden State’s only nude beach.
In normal times, it attracts around 5,000 beach-goers on summer weekends — and masks aren’t required.
But this year, New Jersey was a state that was hit particularly hard by coronavirus, and state officials have worked tirelessly to enforce that residents and visitors wear masks to stop the spread.
Last week, Democratic Governor Phil Murphy signed an order requiring that people wear masks outdoors in places where social distancing isn’t possible — including beaches.
The order took effect immediately and mandates that people who are outside, but in large gatherings and unable to socially distance, must wear a mask.
“This is absolutely vital when individuals find themselves in a crowded situation — such as when walking down a packed boardwalk or in a line that is not properly spaced apart,” Murphy said last week.
“When in doubt, regardless of what the order says to the letter of the law, put on a face covering if you’re going out.”
“It’s literally that simple,” he said.
New Jersey’s official Twitter account tweeted on Tuesday — National Nude Day — a photo of the beach’s entrance sign that reads: “Beyond this point you may encounter nude sunbathers.”
“Clothing: Optional,” the tweet states. “Mask: Mandatory #NationalNudeDay #MaskUpNJ.”
Murphy’s new order, however, has exceptions.
Children under two, people eating or drinking at outdoor restaurants, and those whose health could be negatively impacted by a mask are not required to wear one.
People who are working out or are in the water, or who “have to briefly remove it for religious reasons,” as noted by NJ.com, are also exempt.
New Jersey was an initial hot spot of the virus, with more than 181,000 coronavirus infections and over 15,650 deaths as of Tuesday.
But the state, through social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and a mask mandate, was able to largely control the spread of the virus.
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