OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Businesses down the shore saw a boom during what some people called the “Hot Vax Summer.” People packed the boardwalk, and there are still so many on the beach as many waved goodbye to summer as Labor Day weekend winds down.
One family from Gloucester County has been coming down the shore every Labor Day weekend for 20 years.READ MORE: Philadelphia Health Department Revises COVID Guidance For Schools, Adds Weekly Testing For Unvaccinated Students 12 And Under
“I just like the serenity of being around the beach and the water,” Rosalind Graves said.
— Matt Petrillo (@MattPetrillo) September 6, 2021
“I like the beach because of the water and I get to spend time with my family,” Sah’Nay Lester said.
And at places like Goofy Golf on Ocean City’s boardwalk, their business bounced back this summer compared to 2020.
“At least five times better,” Joe Fanelli, a cashier at Goofy Golf, said.
Fanelli says that despite a worker shortage, which forced the closure of Goofy Golf’s Hoop’s Challenge, big crowds kept him busy all season.
“Cloudy days then we’re even busier because then it’s not a beach day,” Fanelli said.
At Manco & Manco Pizza, a line of hungry customers extended halfway into the boardwalk.
“Business has been great,” Chris Mazzitelli, manager at Manco & Manco Pizza, said. “It’s great to see people out there.”READ MORE: Upper Darby High School Dismissed Early After Student Sets Paper Towel Roll On Fire In Bathroom
Mazzitelli added that business has felt like it’s been at pre-pandemic levels.
At Rita’s Water Ice, as workers serve generous scoops, customers are being generous, too, during this busy summer.
“More people, more money for the business and tips I can get,” Larisa Gallen, a Rita’s Water Ice scooper, said.
For most of summer 2020, New Jersey had tight COVID-19 restrictions like an indoor dining ban. But officials say that created a lot of pent-up demand for the 2021 summer, and the crowds showed it.
The unofficial end to summer was a beautiful one. While parents are winding down, the kiddos are winding up and getting ready to go back to school.
“It was a great summer,” one woman said.
“The people, the smell of the ocean, the sun, just everything,” said another.
Monday was picture perfect. For some, it was a great beach day. But all in all, this year was different.
“Because of COVID, I think. Last year was, I don’t know, it just was a different vibe,” one woman said.
Johnson’s Popcorn was dinner for one family.
“Every summer we have to come here and get the popcorn. You have to choose it with the lid off because then they give you extra,” a woman said.
Then it was time to say goodbye. For some, it was bittersweet.
“I’m a teacher so summers I live for,” one woman said.MORE NEWS: Lockdown Lifted At Hardy Williams Mastery Charter School After 911 Call Warning Of School Shooting
CBS3’s Matt Petrillo and Wakisha Bailey contributed to this report.