By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Sea Isle City’s beaches and oceanfront Promenade will remain a sanctuary for walkers, joggers and bikers during the coronavirus pandemic.
While Ocean City and a few other Jersey Shore communities have closed their beaches and boardwalks to the public to help prevent the spread of the virus, Sea Isle has no plans now to shut down its signature attractions.
“There’s no indication that we’ll be closing the beaches and Promenade at this point,” Sea Isle spokeswoman Katherine Custer said in an interview Thursday.
Custer noted that the city is confident it can comply with Gov. Phil Murphy’s social distancing orders for people to remain at least six feet apart, even if they are exercising or relaxing outdoors.
“We feel we don’t have to make any changes to comply with the governor’s order,” she said. “We’re not seeing any clustering on our Promenade or beaches. Obviously, we’re continuing to monitor the situation, which means it could be subject to change at some point.”
Sea Isle’s 4.5-mile sandy shoreline stretching from First to 94th streets and the Promenade walkway between 29th and 57th streets are always popular attractions during the summer tourism season. They have also become a place of refuge in early spring for people looking to escape the coronavirus crisis.
However, Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio has joined with other Jersey Shore officials in urging residents and visitors to stay at home for now to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m confident that when neighbors care for one another and everyone understands that we are all in this together, we will be able to beat this pandemic and emerge stronger on the other side,” Desiderio said in a statement Thursday.
“In the meantime, I remind everyone to stay in your homes, to practice social distancing, to frequently wash your hands and avoid touching your face, and to follow all other directives from Federal, State and County health officials,” he added.
Custer noted that she saw only two people Thursday in two different spots on the Promenade, suggesting that the calls for people to stay at home may be working.
“We don’t have a problem here at this point with crowds,” she said.
Up to this point, Sea Isle’s beaches and Promenade generally have had “very little activity,” Custer emphasized.
Cape May County officials, meanwhile, are worried that an influx of visitors will overtax the local grocery stores and pharmacies and create a huge strain on the county’s medical system if a large outbreak of the coronavirus occurs at the shore.
Gov. Murphy has been among those who have implored second homeowners at the shore not to head to their vacation retreats to try to ride out the pandemic.