Major spring and summer events canceled by NJ pandemic orders
With uncertainly surrounding when Gov.Phil Murphy will lift or adjust his executive orders prohibiting gatherings and non-essential businesses from opening, a number of events planned for the summer are being canceled.
The Somerset County Park Commission announced this week that the closure of its five golf courses has meant a loss of revenue that would have gone toward summer events, including the Independence Day fireworks at North Branch Park in Bridgewater, the Rose Day Festival at the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden at Colonial Park and the Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park.
Somerset County Freeholder Sara Sooy said that the county's courses generate an average of $700,000 per month. With few snow storms this this season, the courses had good months before being forced to close.
"We're adjusting and balancing day to day to make sure we're fiscally responsible and we have the health and safety of our residents first and foremost," Sooy said.
If the golf courses were to be reopened within the next month, there is a possibility some of the programs could be salvaged, according to Sooy, but the commission is not in a hurry and is not against the governor's orders to close county and state parks and golf courses.
"The more we make our efforts in a concentrated manner and sacrifice a little it's better for the economy as a whole in the long run," Sooy said.
If the number of cases declines in the county, the economy could safely be slowly reopened and restrictions lifted, according to Sooy.
"Golf is definitely one of those sports you can play while practicing social distancing. The park commission has a fantastic plan. They were doing it towards the tail end right before they were shut down and it was working rather well," Sooy said.
State Sen. Steve Oroho, R-Sussex, and Assemblyman Hal Wirths, R-Sussex, along with the New Jersey Golf Association are asking Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen the state’s 300 golf courses for both health and economic reasons.
New Jersey Special Olympics canceled their annual games scheduled for June 5-7 at The College of New Jersey after the international organization strongly recommended all in-person training, competitions, events and activities be canceled until May 31.
"I realize this is extremely disappointing to our athletes and everyone within our organization, but I do ask for your patience and understanding. By making these difficult decisions now, we believe in the near future, that we can get back to doing what we do best, which is providing sports, fitness, health and leadership opportunities to our athletes," New Jersey Special Olympics said in a statement.
The annual Torch Run that brings the game flame with the help of police agencies from all over the state to the TCNJ campus in Ewing has been postponed.
Uncertainty over the future of the governor's executive orders led Brick to cancel its annual Memorial Day parade. Mayor John Ducey told Townsquare Media that the township will still honor its veterans even if it's not with a parade on Memorial Day.
"We're still going to celebrate in some way, such as a small ceremony at town hall or perhaps we will have a July 4th celebration or some other parade in the future," Ducey said.
The Power in the Pines Air Show scheduled for May 16 and 17 at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has also been canceled.
"Due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and to protect our service members, their families and the communities that support us, the 2020 Power in the Pines Open House and Air Show has been canceled," the Joint Base said in a statement. The base was hosting the show for the first time in two years.
Organizers of the Princeton Festival said they took "the responsible path" and canceled its June season of concerts and performances. They said performance and rehearsal venues were not available under the executive orders.
Some concerts for late spring and early summer have been postponed but two concerts have been outright canceled: Alice Cooper at the PNC Bank Arts Center on June 19 and BTS' return to MetLife Stadium on May 23 and 24. The Korean pop group sold out two concerts in May 2019.
One event whose organizers will not make a decision until at least mid-May is the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning.
Founder Howard Green said he is in daily contact with his sponsors, the owners of Solberg Airport where the show takes place, and the performers. One option would be to move the festival to October, Green said.
The future of the festival was in jeopardy when QuickChek gave up its title sponsorship after 27 years. The New Jersey Lottery signed on as brand new title sponsor at the end of February.
This year's festival is scheduled for July 24 to 26 in Readington.