Jersey Shore businesses excited for summer crowds

MARGATE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Businesses down the shore learned a few pandemic lessons over the last year, and now they say they're ready to welcome back the summer crowds.

"We're going to keep following the rules, 50%, no bar, and we have all the outside dining that we could possibly have," said John Liccio, owner of Johnny's Cafe in Margate.

While indoor dining in New Jersey is still limited to 50% capacity, management at Johnny's spruced up the outdoor dining areas, creating something with a little more ambiance.

Now, a tent in the back is on a raised platform, and it is equipped with lights, heaters, and speakers.

"It'll hold about 32 people and it'll be used constantly all summer. Last year was incredible," said Liccio.

The Windjammer Diner in Somers Point is a staple for locals but also welcomes crowds of visitors in the summer.

Owners say the past few weekends they've had lines of people waiting for tables.

"You still have to keep the distance. So we just ordered glass to keep between the booths so we can seat every booth. And hopefully that brings back more," said Owner Ginny Tiniakos.

Locals can't help but notice all the cars coming into town these past few weekends.

"I was at the traffic light, and I couldn't believe the number of cars going by," said Don Devlin of Ocean City.

Shops are getting ready, too.

When Heritage Surf and Sport in Margate couldn't open their doors last spring, they still sold plenty of surfboards with curbside pickup.

"It's an outdoor sport, you're socially distanced. People are doing it as families. We have whole families coming in buying boards," said Owner Randy Young.

Now they're seeing steady business, and are excited for the summer ahead.

"A lot of people have relocated here from New York and Philadelphia and, in turn, our winter business has increased. So it's been good," said Young.

One concern many businesses down the shore have: finding employees.

Business owners are hoping to employ more people this summer and are looking for people who want the positions.
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