With Memorial Day Weekend 2020 upon us, the unofficial start of the summer is here. Locals and visitors alike are no doubt excited for some serious sun, surf, sand, and fun, especially following weeks in quarantine. But, this year, the picture will look quite different due to COVID-19. Several restrictions have been put into place, as city officials prepare for a very large crowd.
“I am cautious, but optimistic, about the beaches and boardwalk being open this weekend,” said Ocean City Mayor Jay A. Gillian. “As we begin to reopen the city, the health and safety of everybody will remain our top priority. Moving forward, we’re going to have to remain a team in following all the guidelines that will keep us healthy.”
“We’re definitely ready for this weekend,” explained OCBP Chief Mark Jamieson. “We’re adding more measures – we’re providing neck gaiter face scarves for all the guards. Our staff is in place, and professionally trained to protect our beaches. This is a living, breathing kind of situation with the pandemic, but we’re going to keep everyone as safe as possible.”Chief Mark Jamieson
The key to success, this weekend and throughout the summer, he added, will be adhering to social distancing. This applies to the beaches, boardwalk, restaurants, and all other public areas.
“For the sake of everybody, do it yourself: Stay six feet from others, wear face coverings in buildings, in lines, and whenever you can’t maintain social distance, and wash your hands regularly,’ he said.
The beaches in Ocean City are now open for all regular activities, including walking, running, swimming, surfing, fishing, and sunbathing. Small groups of family members and friends are permitted, but it’s recommended they follow the “shelter in place” order.
“Please avoid social gathering, and respect social distancing guidelines,” he encouraged.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol will begin guarding on Memorial Day Weekend, and beachgoers are advised to only swim at guarded beaches.
“We’re definitely ready for this weekend,” explained OCBP Chief Mark Jamieson. “We’re adding more measures – we’re providing neck gaiter face scarves for all the guards. Our staff is in place, and professionally trained to protect our beaches. This is a living, breathing kind of situation with the pandemic, but we’re going to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
Jamieson added that this will be a team effort this weekend, and throughout the summer.
“We’re prepared for today, and when we succeed today, we’ll prepare for the next day,” he said. “The lifesaving will be no different, despite the changes. People are excited to get outside and experience the beach. Together we’ll grow, develop and learn the new way.”
Routine OCBP preparations are set, including repairs to lifeguard stands, tuning up vehicle fleets, ordering needed uniforms and equipment, and the testing of this year’s rookie class.
Ocean City City Council recently approved a resolution that extends the period for discounted $20 beach tags to June 30. Beach tags are on sale online at www.ocnj.us/beachtags. In-person sales at locations in Ocean City are expected to open soon.
In regard to wearing masks, Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order makes it mandatory to wear face coverings and masks inside retail establishments and restaurants. There is no executive order or CDC requirement that people wear masks at all times in public. Officials are hopeful people will use their best judgement to stay safe, healthy, and happy this upcoming holiday weekend.
Here are the guarded beaches for Memorial Day Weekend:
St. Charles Place