Social distance ambassadors to patrol Cape May beaches, boardwalks

As New Jersey shore communities prepare to open for the summertime months ahead, some county officials want beachgoers to be mindful of the state's ongoing fight against coronavirus.

Cape May County, home to popular beaches such as Wildwood, Sea Isle City and Ocean City, will mobilize social distance ambassadors along boardwalks and beaches to remind visitors about the importance of the state's mitigation guidelines.

"The social distance ambassador is basically a gentle reminder that the pandemic is not over, we're not out of the woods yet, just to remind people that it's a good idea to stay apart from each other," Cape May County health officer Kevin Thomas said.

The ambassadors will be focused on high-volume areas of the beaches and boardwalks, and hand out tote bags with educational pamphlets and hand sanitizer packets. 

Cape May County currently has the second-lowest coronavirus case count in the state, with just under 500 positive cases and below 40 deaths. Some worry that an influx of "day-trippers" will lead to a virus flare-up.

"We thrive on those people coming down, they're part of our community," Thomas said.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday announced that all beaches and state parks will open on Friday, May 22. Murphy's order allows shore town communities that lie dormant during off-season months to capitalize on the important summertime window that some feared would be slammed shut due to coronavirus crisis. 


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