With temps in the 80s and 90s, and the sun shining brightly, Ocean City locals and visitors have been packing the beaches and strolling the Boardwalk for weeks now, taking in the beautiful sights, splashing in the ocean, and enjoying favorite Jersey Shore treats to-go style.
As the official summer season’s right around the corner, Boardwalk merchants are more than ready to reopen, to let patrons dine in-person outdoors, and non-essential retail stores to reopen for indoor shopping. The hope is to allow everyone to shop, play, and experience the Boardwalk’s many offerings once again.
Ocean City Boardwalk Merchants Association President Wes Kazmarck said the city’s businesses have done their part over the past three months, and it’s time for Governor Phil Murphy to allow businesses to make a living and pay employees. He also reassured businesses are taking every measure to keep everyone safe.
“Our businesses have put safeguards in place to operate as safely as possible to protect the health and safety of our workers and guests, while allowing families to enjoy all the Ocean City Boardwalk has to offer,” said Kazmarck. “It’s not been business as usual, so we’re ready to go full strength as soon as possible and dig out of this hole. We’re all anxious to get back work. The entire town struggles without the Boardwalk in operation.”
Jody Levchuk, co-owner of the Jilly’s stores on the Boardwalk and newly elected City Councilman, said the time is now to reopen before some businesses will need to shut down for good.
“It is time to open. I believe that the citizens will do their duty to keep their distance and put face coverings on or stay home if they feel unsafe,” said Levchuck.
According to an Ocean City Boardwalk Merchants Association survey released Friday, 100 percent of the Boardwalk businesses report having social distancing, safety, and hygiene plans in place.
As far as amusement parks, arcades, mini-golf courses, and many other activities and events, “We’re all waiting to hear, and it’s frustrating because it’s hard to hire a 100-person staff when we don’t know when we can start,” said Kazmarck. “We’ve all gone over the top to put safety measures in place. We’re ready to open and hoping for the green light.”
As businesses begin to open, Governor Murphy encouraged and reminded everyone to follow social distancing guidelines.
“We’re still all in this together, so please do your part to keep us moving forward, common sense for the common good. Keep practicing your social distancing, washing your hands with soap and water, and wearing your face coverings when out in public,” he said.
For up-to-the-minute updates about the reopening plans, and information about upcoming events on the OC Boardwalk, follow.facebook.com/ocnjboardwalk.
Have fun, stay safe, and let summer 2020 begin!