OCEAN CITY, N.J. - Beaches and boardwalks along the New Jersey coast have reopened, as Memorial Day Weekend begins an important economic window for shore town businesses.
Last Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order that scheduled restrictions on beaches, boardwalks and lakes to be lifted ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.
Some beaches, like Ocean City and Sea Isle City in Cape May, were given the greenlight a week in advance. Crowds flocked to the shore over the weekend and packed the boardwalk on Saturday, when temperatures down the shore were in the 80s.
Boardwalk restaurants and shops will be open for walk-up orders only. Attractions like arcades and amusement parks will remain closed.
Officials are asking visitors to follow social distancing guidelines while enjoying the beach, such as maintaining six-feet apart from other people. Face masks are not mandated, but Murphy on Wednesday launched a social media campaign called "Mask Up" to stress the importance of face coverings.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania officials are advising residents not to travel to the Jersey shore. In a press conferenced Friday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley urged residents to resist the temptation of traveling to the beach. State secretary of health Rachel Levine echoed similar sentiments.
"If the weather is nice this weekend, going outside in your immediate area is fine," Levine said. "We're really not recommending that people take long trips."
Virus mitigation guidelines aside, Memorial Day - often thought of as the unofficial start of summer - will not feel entirely like summer. Temperatures are forecasted to be chilly and rainy on Friday and Saturday. However, the second half of the extended weekend, which calls for more seasonable conditions, will likely draw crowds.
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