WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Big news for lovers of the boardwalk — amusement and water parks are allowed to reopen just in time for summer’s biggest holiday. Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday the popular attractions can reopen on Thursday, July 2 at 50% capacity.
Playgrounds can also reopen on July 2.
— Alecia Reid (@alecia__reid) June 23, 2020
The parks now have just about a week to get ready and get employees in place to serve their guests.
This season is all about making enough revenue to get to the 2021 season.
Morey’s Piers is usually open by Easter but right now, they’re about three months behind.
Surfside Pier is still getting a bit of TLC but Mariner’s Pier is ready to go.
“I wanna go on a merry-go-round,” one little girl said.
But there’s just a little bit more of a wait as Murphy has given amusement and water parks to reopen July 2, just in time for Independence Day weekend.
Some amusement and water parks are already mapping out a plan.
“We wanna go on the roller coaster. It’s like a wooden one. We haven’t gone on it yet. We’ve been waiting a little bit and we’re really excited,” said Ryan and Alexa Grubb.
The VP of human resources at Morey’s Pier says they need to hire about 500 employees. Since it’s been a struggle to hire staff, there’s now a big push to get applicants.
In an effort to attract new employees, Morey’s Pier has added some employment incentives.
They have increased wages — now starting employees at $12 an hour. Employees will get food credit for meals and snacks. They’ll also get free rides, slides and discount passes for friends and family.
“It’s just an amazing atmosphere to be in and be a part of,” Kayla Olsen, with Morey’s Piers, said.
Social distancing will be in effect as officials hope open rides will draw crowds to the boardwalk.
“It could be seating people diagonally, skipping seats. On the carousel, for instance, we went and took off horses. So we’ve had to custom for each and every ride the best way to ensure that we have distance between parties,” Mariner’s Pier Vice President of Human Resources Denise Beckson said.
Morey’s Piers wants to ensure they provide a safe, fun family experience. What rides reopen will all depend on the amount of staffing they can provide.
Meanwhile, Murphy reported another 382 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 169,734.
Another 57 New Jersey residents died from coronavirus-related complications. The state’s death toll now stands at 12,949.
Murphy continues to stress the importance of social distancing as the state continues to reopen.
“Let me reiterate. There is no vaccine for COVID-19,” Murphy said. “There is no cure and there is no proven therapy. The only thing that works is to not get it. Period. Full stop. This isn’t a drill. This is a real battle to save lives. That’s why, across our restart, we’re ensuring social distancing, requiring face coverings and masks, and putting strong cleaning and hygiene protocols in place.”