Jersey shore towns preparing for 'unconventional' summer season amid the COVID-19 pandemic

NORTH WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The North Wildwood boardwalk was empty and dreary as the clouds that lingered above it on Monday.

North Wildwood, like many shore towns, has been brought to a standstill during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many are now wondering when life will return to the Jersey shore.

The only signs of life on this day came from Montego Bay Resort where management is hopeful it won't stay this quiet for much longer.

"It's the hotel industry, it's the restaurants. It's definitely hurting the season because normally the season has kicked off by now," Youschak said.

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That season was over before it started over at the Sandpiper Motel.

The family-run business decided to close for the entire summer out of an abundance of caution.

On Facebook, the family apologized to the community, offered refunds, and stressed that the safety of their guests, employees and family was the top priority.

With the unofficial start of summer around the corner, many now looking to local and state leadership.

"I'm not sure I've got a crisp answer for you on Memorial Day," said Gov. Phil Murphy.

At Monday's briefing, Governor Murphy only going as far as to say there's a shot the shore could see some sense of normalcy in the next four weeks, but only if everyone continues to adhere to stay-at-home orders.

"If we let our guard down, all bets are off," he added.

Some shore towns are preparing for the summer season, as unconventional as it may be.

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"We believe social distancing will be part of the plan this summer, we believe masks will be part of the plan," said Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian.

Mayor Pete Byron of Wildwood says if things go well Memorial Day, it could actually mean a longer season.

"Hopefully, we'll pick it up on the other end," he said. "Maybe the season will go towards the latter part of October."

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