OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Some crowds head to the Jersey Shore for the Memorial Day weekend and the start of the summer tourist season, while others will be marking the holiday at home. But one thing is for sure, things will feel a lot different this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Memorial Day weekend is usually filled with lots of fun and festivities, but in the time of a pandemic, many will be barbecuing and socializing much differently.
“After 60-something days indoors, it’s nice to soak up the sun, back on the beach,” said Ryan Jones of Egg Harbor Township.
Judging from last weekend in Ocean City, people couldn’t wait to get back to the Jersey Shore. It was a crowded scene from the boardwalk to the beach and it’s likely to be even more crowded this Memorial Day weekend.
“Please, please, please do it responsibly, stay away from each other and wear something on your face to protect not just you, but to protect the folks around you,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Face masks are strongly recommended but not required.
Per the governor’s order, social distancing of at least six feet from strangers is required on all beaches and boardwalks, but it will be up to each town to set capacity limits.
Boardwalk food vendors can open but only for takeout. Amusement rides, arcades and playgrounds will remain closed.
Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron says this and the warm weather may also help thin crowds.
“The forecast isn’t so great and frankly, even if it was, there isn’t as many activities for the people to take advantage of as a typical Memorial Day weekend,” Byron said.
Meanwhile, officials across the bridge are urging Pennsylvanians to stay away.
“South Jersey does what South Jersey does. It’s going to affect us because people are going to go to the beach this weekend, they’re going to congregate with people in too close proximity, then they’re going to drive back home to Philadelphia and perhaps give the virus to somebody in their family,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.
There will be hand-sanitizing stations located along the Ocean City boardwalk. Also, anyone who needs a face mask can get one for free at the Ocean City Music Pier