Visitors, businesses ready for Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey shore

WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The forecast may not be perfect for Memorial Day weekend, but the folks who are down the shore say they don't care.

Many are ready for the holiday weekend they missed last year, and businesses certainly hope the crowds come through.

On a beautiful Thursday night in Ocean City, New Jersey, plenty of people kicked off their Memorial Day weekend a little early. Some are keeping a close eye on a cool and cloudy weekend forecast.

"We have a house rented and we look forward to a lot of great family time on the beach, hoping the weather cooperates a little bit," said Julie Horst of Lancaster, Pa.

In Wildwood, some were making their way into town, and some were making their way off the beach.

"It felt good! The water was really good," said Jasmine Braxton of North Philadelphia.

Boardwalk businesses - many of which are still hiring - are hoping the weekend won't be a complete washout.

"I think it's going to be busy. Whether we get the rain or not, they're still going to come," said Paul Loughran, owner of Bust 'Em Up, who says cloudy weather can help drive people to his balloon popping game to win prizes.

Starting Friday, New Jersey's indoor mask mandate will lift, regardless of vaccination status, though, health officials strongly recommend wearing a mask if you're not vaccinated.

Social distancing requirements will lift as well in New Jersey.

Businesses are ready to welcome people back.

"We are definitely prepping for the busiest Memorial Day that people have seen in years. We really think that people will come out in numbers," said Bernie Saab, owner of Beachside Ice Cream Parlor and Cafe.

Rain or shine, we found visitors who are determined to enjoy their getaway.

"I've been sitting inside a lot," said Sean Filimon of Northeast Philadelphia. "Obviously that hadn't been fun. Other than work, there hasn't been a whole lot going on, so this is the first time I can actually get out and do some stuff."

As is customary for the unofficial start of summer, the unlocking of the ocean ceremony and business persons plunge is set to take place in Ocean City near the Music Pier on Friday at noon.
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