Social Distance Ambassadors aim to educate beachgoers in Cape May County

CAPE MAY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- As beaches along the Jersey shore begin to reopen, many are wondering how social distancing guidelines will be enforced. In Cape May County, a group of volunteers has been tasked with helping everyone stay safe.

"I think it's critical to provide the community with education so they can make an intelligent decision," said Bill Green, social distancing ambassador.

Green is one of the new Social Distance Ambassadors along Cape May's Boardwalk handing out everything from masks, hand sanitizer, and a life-saving message.

"It's extremely important mostly coming up to the Memorial Day weekend when there's going to be an influx of people coming down to the shore area," said beachgoer, John Dodig.

It's part of the 6 Feet Saves Campaign backed by the Cape May County Department of Health.

"We're just letting everyone know we aren't out the woods just yet, don't let your guard down just yet," said Megan Santiago of Cape May County Dept of Health.

The ambassadors are all volunteers, some are health professionals. The question they say many people have is if they should be wearing a mask outside.

"So if you are with your immediate family walking on the boardwalk and you are keeping that six feet from other crowded areas you don't necessarily have to wear it," said Satiago.

The ambassadors want to be clear that they aren't police and you won't get a fine, it's more like a friendly thank you.

I'm so happy they are, I'm wearing a mask to protect other people and I want other people to protect me by wearing a mask," said beachgoer, Mary Ann Castagnetta.

Social distancing ambassadors will make their rounds between Cape May County beaches. They'll be educating beachgoers at least through July.

In Pennsylvania, salons won't be allowed to reopen under the Governor's plan until the green phase. While Philadelphia is still in the red phase, Aslanova says, even when she is allowed to reopen, she believes the restrictions will be too tight to make a profit.

"All the things that we are obligated to pay will go back to their original amount, 100 percent, and we are only allowed to be booked at 25 percent capacity," said Aslanova.

No salons in Pennsylvania are legally allowed to reopen yet, but in other states like Florida and Texas, salons can reopen with strict guidelines. Pennsylvania health secretary Rachel Levine has said salons can't open here yet because it's impossible to socially distance with this type of hands-on service.

Aslanova says she has a new job at a different salon lined up, but it's going to be hard to say goodbye to her own. As an immigrant who fled the former Soviet Union, owning her own business felt surreal.

"You know I came to the United States 30 years ago and I wanted to live the American dream, start my own business, go on my own," she said. "You've survived genocide, you can survive a pandemic."
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