Jer­sey girds for swarm of N.Y.ers flee­ing from shut­tered beaches


Take the movie “Jaws,” re­place the big shark with a deadly global pan­demic, and you have some­thing close to the anx­i­ety hov­er­ing over New Jer­sey beaches this week­end.

Not since for­mer Gov. Chris Christie had the beach to him­self dur­ing a state gov­ern­ment shut­down in 2017 has this much sand been kicked up over ac­cess to the Jer­sey Shore.

With city beaches closed for Memo­rial Day amid coro­n­avirus re­stric­tions, and Long Is­land beaches lim­ited to lo­cal res­i­dents, the Jer­sey Shore is brac­ing for an in­flux from its New York neigh­bors ea­ger to break the bonds of cabin fever and get out and soak in some sun.

“New York­ers have helped us for many years,” said Dillon Mul­lock, gen­eral man­ager of the Chal­fonte Ho­tel in Cape May. “As long as ev­ery­one keeps their distance, I don’t think there could be a safer place.”

Ho­tels like the Chal­fonte can’t open un­til June 1, but op­er­a­tors have been pre­par­ing for the sum­mer sea­son. Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jer­sey beaches will be open for busi­ness on May 22, just in time for the hol­i­day week­end, with a list of re­stric­tions as long as the shore line.

Among them are no spe­cial events, no play­grounds, no rides and no ar­cades. So­cial dis­tanc­ing rules are in ef­fect, and beaches are sub­ject to ca­pac­ity lim­its.

“A trip to the beach is a trea­sured pas­time for New Jerseyans on Memo­rial Day week­end just as it is for res­i­dents in our neigh­bor­ing states,” Murphy said. “By align­ing our so­cial dis­tanc­ing poli­cies for beaches,

we can bring some sem­blance of a ‘new nor­mal’ to our re­gion ahead of the first week­end of the sum­mer sea­son.”

But not ev­ery­one in New Jer­sey is ea­ger to dive right in. Brook­lyn res­i­dent Monique Green­wood rented out her Cape May bed-and-break­fast for the hol­i­day week­end, but she said she is a lit­tle ner­vous about get­ting back to busi­ness.

“I’ve been down the shore last two week­ends,” said Green­wood, who op­er­ates

Ak­waaba at But­ton­wood Manor in Cape May. “They are very lib­eral about this,” she said of the lo­cals. “They’re not really wear­ing masks.”

Green­wood said she had a con­trac­tor work­ing at the prop­erty, and he didn’t wear a mask.

“I kept try­ing to keep my distance,” Green­wood said. “He kept com­ing close to tell me things.”

Fi­nally, Green­wood said, she men­tioned some­thing about his lack of a mask. But in­stead of ad­dress­ing the i sue, she said the con­trac­tor sked if she was a Demo­crat.

“I was a lit­tle un­nerved by ,” she said.

In­stead of rent­ing out in­di­vid­ual rooms, Green­wood said she is rent­ing the whole prop­erty to a fam­ily from Brook­lyn. She said a whole­house rental cuts down on coro­n­avirus risks, as do the “fun packs” guests will re­ceive in­stead of ac­cess to a par­lor filled with shared books and games.

“When they fin­ish us­ing it they can take it home with them,” Green­wood said. “I’m call­ing their guest room a san­i­tized sanc­tu­ary.”

New Jer­sey’s beaches have not got­ten this much at­ten­tion from New York­ers since 2017 when Christie — Gov. Murphy’s pre­de­ces­sor —stirred out­rage by en­joy­ing a sea­side out­ing dur­ing a state gov­ern­ment shut­down when pub­lic beaches were closed.

“The gov­er­nor has a res­i­dence at Is­land Beach. Oth­ers don’t. That’s just the way it goes,” Christie said at the time. “Run for gov­er­nor and you can have the res­i­dence.”

Most New York­ers will sim­ply set­tle for day trips since Mayor de Bla­sio an­nounced that swim­ming will be for­bid­den at city beaches over the hol­i­day week­end. Peo­ple will still be al­lowed to stroll along the sand, but he warned that the city will fence it off if crowds get out of hand or start splash­ing in the wa­ter.

Mean­while, Long Is­land pols en­acted a ban on non­res­i­dents vis­it­ing some of the area’s beaches.

Beaches run by the state Parks Depart­ment, like Jones Beach State Park and Robert Moses State Park, will open Memo­rial Day week­end — but at 50% ca­pac­ity, Gov. Cuomo an­nounced last week.

Beaches along Jer­sey Shore can ex­pect a big in­flux of cooped-up New York­ers in­vad­ing their surf this week­end.

New York - MAY 20, 2020 - A NYPD Pa­trol car is seen at the Coney Is­land Board­walk near closed busi­nesses dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic out­break. Mayor de Bla­sio threat­ened Sun­day May 17, to have au­thor­i­ties set up fences at beaches if New York­ers ig­nore so­cial-dis­tanc­ing guide­lines at the city**CHAR**s sandy shores. You want

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