WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — The summer season at the Jersey Shore is underway. Despite warnings about the pandemic, some will make the trip for the Memorial Day weekend but they will certainly encounter a few changes.
In Wildwood, there are big changes coming to a familiar mode of transportation on the boardwalk, while those in the water seemingly don’t have much to fear.
“This is probably the biggest change they’ve undergone in all those years,” North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said.
The Wildwood tram cars, in action since the 1940s, are getting a coronavirus-inspired facelift.
“The tram cars really are the defining icon, probably not just for Wildwoods, but the entire in southern New Jersey shore. It was important to get them up and running in a safe and responsible way,” Rosenello said.
It’s the first time since 1949 they won’t be running on Memorial Day weekend.
But when the carts start slinking and slunking down the boards next week, they’ll feature sneeze guards.
And a new app allows you to purchase tickets without handling cash.
“It’ll show your location and all the location of the tram cars,” Rosenello said. “You click, buy a ticket, it tells you the price. You buy the ticket. You hit that, you can download the app and it’s how you can redeem your ticket once you’re on the tram car.”
But what about those looking to go in the water?
Kay Bidle, a microbiol oceanographer and professor at Rutgers University, says there isn’t much research on coronavirus infection rates in oceans, but the likelihood of the virus being transmitted in water is much lower than if you’re already interacting with others on land.
“The oceans present a very different circumstance — saltwater, high light and also elevated temperatures as the summer gets warmer,” Bidle said.
And also, be smart. Bidle says to continue socially distancing from those you aren’t sheltering with.
“Maintain social distancing whether you’re on land or whether you’re in the water, playing in the waves or whatever it is,” Bidle said.
Back in Wildwood, Rosenello says they’re hoping 60% of the usual traffic that comes to Wildwood will be here this weekend.
He says a lot of people are looking forward to this weekend being over and looking towards the summer season.