Businesses still struggling in Sea Isle City due to coronavirus pandemic

SEA ISLE CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Though the shore has been a popular destination during the last few months, many towns are still struggling to rebound from weeks without tourists.

"Wearing masks is not fun, but it's just something we got to do right now," said Wes Kazmarck, the owner of Birdcage, a retail store in Sea Isle City.

Working inside the clothing store Birdcage is a big deal, considering where they were when the summer season started. The store was limited to curbside pickup and the door was locked.

Now, business has picked back up, although the owner said hiring employees has been a challenge.

"You don't have the J-1 visa program in place this year, you have the ability for people to take on unemployment still where they can actually make more money not working, so I think that's made it very difficult," said Kazmarck. "And I think you have parents who want their kids to sit it out this year."

Kazmarck said he has employed about a third of his usual staff, and many young people are working at his shop because a summer internship fell through because of the pandemic.

Out on the beach, there is plenty of room to space out, thanks to the replenishment project.

"The beach was made bigger, so there was plenty of room for social distancing, and we felt safe," said Lorraine Reeves.

After a day of sun and sand, La Costa Cocktail Lounge has tents outside to make room for people to sit and eat while indoor dining is still not allowed.

"We don't even get half of the crowd that we could put in here every day," said Ken Heath, a manager.

Heath said he wants people to have a good time but safety is his priority, which is why table space is limited to six people at a time.

"They can listen to the music, but they really can't congregate and the dancing is at their table," said Heath.

The last call at La Costa is now at 11:30 p.m., instead of 2:30 a.m., which has also cut down on the amount of money the restaurant could make.
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