We all want to know. What will summer at the Shore during a pandemic be like? Belmar may be setting the tone with their plans.

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The city of Belmar is being realistic. When Memorial Day weekend arrives people will start flocking to the beach whether there's coronavirus or not. Good thinking.

Talking to NJ.com, Belmar Mayor Mark Walsifer gave us an idea of what this summer is going to be like in Belmar. And while it's different, it's practical and I think that many other Shore towns will follow suit.

This is what Mayor Walsifer told NJ.com will be in place by Memorial Day.

  • Benches will be removed temporarily from the boardwalk, and patrols will keep people from loitering.
  • Public bathrooms on the boardwalk will be open, but a limited number of people will be allowed inside at a time, and the facilities will be cleaned often. Bathroom lines could cause social-distancing problems on the boardwalk and that will be monitored, too.
  • Regular patrols will regulate social distancing on the beaches. “Families can sit close together,” Walsifer said. “But if we see a group of college kids who aren’t social-distancing, for instance, we’re going to enforce it, and if you can’t abide by the rules, you’re going to have to leave the beach.”
  • If the beaches become too crowded, access will be cut off. “We’re going to treat this like a store,” Walsifer said. “If there are too many people on the beach for us to safely social-distance, then you won’t be able to get on the beach until other people come off. We’ll be monitoring that constantly.”
  • Walsifer said the borough will not limit the number of seasonal badges it sells.
  • Protections for badge-checkers are still being discussed, and the borough is building more booths for the sale of beach badges so employees aren’t crammed inside.
  • Lifeguards must be spread out, too: “You can’t have three lifeguards on a stand anymore,” Walsifer said.
  • Belmar is getting rid of the parking kiosks and going with payment via an app. Kiosk breakdowns and repairs were too costly, Walsifer said. Still, not having hundreds of people sharing a kiosk keyboard will make parking safer.

There's a common theme, limited. Limited access to the beach, limited use of bathrooms, etc.

Listen, I'm not thrilled about the restrictions, but it's better than nothing. I have no idea how all of these rules are going to be enforced, but I'm sure Belmar will figure it out.

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