NJ shore businesses hope busy spring leads to lucrative summer

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Decent weather has been drawing crowds back to the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Businesses look to rebound from a difficult season in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Easter weekend was extremely busy. It was almost like July fourth weekend. Very crowded," said Shane Mack, assistant manager at Goodies Gone Wild, a gourmet grocery shop. "This year, we're hoping with all the vaccines and people wanting to get back out that it'll be a great season."

William Moffitt, whose family owns Del's Grill on the boardwalk, said, "People are trying to get out of the house...because they've been stuck inside for the past few months. I think everyone's looking to get out, and everyone wants to come down here and have a good time."

On Friday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation providing $35 million in federal funds to small restaurants and bars in New Jersey.

Eateries with 50 or fewer employees are eligible.

Dino Tridente, manager at Litterer's Food Court, says any assistance could be a big help.

"We got some help last year, but it was still a disaster," said Tridente. "I mean, it's expensive to run a business on the boardwalk, and you have a short season. So any kind of help the government would provide would be great."

Restaurants in New Jersey can currently seat people inside at 50% capacity.

Murphy said it's possible that capacity limits could loosen even more by the summer, but that depends on case numbers and hospitalizations.
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