NEW JERSEY — This is the time of year college students and families in New Jersey normally pack their beach gear — or maybe a ski suit — and head somewhere else. But should you pack masks?
That depends on where you’re going, and whether social distancing and other restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus remain in place.
An interactive map shared by the travel group AAA this week shows which states, and counties within certain states, have coronavirus restrictions. While Iowa, South Dakota and Montana are the only ones listed as having no travel restrictions, other states are classified as either “reopening with restrictions” or “reopening with mask requirements.” No states are currently under a stay-at-home advisory, the AAA map shows.
New Jersey is listed by AAA as “reopening with masks required.” Masks must be worn in establishments except while eating and drinking.
The state’s indoor dining capacities are currently limited to 35 percent. Though on March 19, indoor capacity limits in restaurants, bars and casinos will expand to 50 percent.
The number of people allowed at gatherings will also increase from 10 to 25 people indoors and 25 to 50 people outside.
Beaches, welcome centers and rest areas are open to the public. State parks are limiting capacities and require reservations for camping.
Some states are easing restrictions as the spring break season begins. Texas and Mississippi both lifted a mask mandate and travel restrictions on Tuesday. Texas’ lifting of restrictions will be in effect come March 10, while Mississippi’s relaxed restrictions went into effect on Wednesday.
On Monday, Pennsylvania lifted its travel restrictions and began allowing fans at professional sporting and entertainment events. Crowd sizes remain limited to a 20 percent capacity for outdoor events and 15 percent for indoor events in Pennsylvania.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said this week his state is opening at “100 percent,” as the state has long been a spring break destination with its beaches in the Galveston area, South Padre Island and elsewhere along the state’s Gulf of Mexico coast.
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Miami Beach City Manager Raul Aguila said the south Florida city known for its beaches will “not tolerate lawlessness” by visitors who plan to violate coronavirus restrictions.
“If you come here with a party attitude, change your flight reservation now and go to Vegas,” Aguila said at a recent city council meeting, The Wall Street Journal reported.
If you are going to Las Vegas, or to scenic Lake Tahoe, Nevada is listed by AAA as “reopening with masks required.” Restaurants in the state are open at 25 percent capacity with strict social distancing restrictions. Masks are required except while eating or drinking.
Large spring break crowds were spotted in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach, Florida, during the first weekend of the spring break season, news station WSVN reported.
“Just enjoying the weather, getting away from the cold,” one beachgoer told WSVN.
Miami Beach has enacted enhanced safety measures due to the pandemic this year, including capacity limits and alcohol consumption bans at public beaches during the spring break season.
“We have zero tolerance for street fights, theft of any kind and illegal drug use,” Aguila said in a statement. “That simply puts our visitors and residents at risk of serious injury, or worse. If you plan to vacation on Miami Beach, do so responsibly or be arrested.”
Countywide restrictions are only in effect in 17 states, including Florida, Arizona and Illinois. In Miami-Dade County, which is home to Miami Beach, masks are required and a curfew is intact from midnight to 6 a.m.
Other popular tourist destinations are actually making it easier for visitors, though. Yosemite National Park in California which is no longer requiring tourists to have reservations before entering.
But social distancing and wearing a mask are still required while on the park’s trails, according to a Travel + Leisure report.