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Hot temps bring crowds to Jersey Shore ahead of official 'reopening' next week

Posted at 4:54 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 17:36:16-04

BELMAR, N.J. — The Jersey Shore is officially set to reopen next week, but today’s warm weather drew crowds to area beaches.

In Belmar, Mayor Mark Walsifer said trying to deter people from the beach doesn't work, so instead his team is focused on social distancing and limited social contact.

"I think people who have been staying home are now ready to get out and when they want to come out, they come down the beach," said Walisfer. "So we put a whole program in place."

Belmar will break up their beach into four zones. They will limit capacity within each zone by counting beach badges and spreading beachgoers evenly across the zones. Anyone who doesn’t comply will be cited and ejected.

Lifeguards will be on duty, but they’ll spread out to maintain social distancing among themselves and so swimmers can spread out as well.

Public bathrooms will be open, but masks will be required.

Masks are optional on the beach, but they’re strongly encouraged. The majority of those on the beach and boardwalk on Friday were not masked.

"When we opened up the boardwalk, we took all the benches off so no one could hang around the boardwalk," said Mayor Walisfer. "And we put the barrels in the middle with arrows to keep the people walking north to the right and keep people walking south, stay to their right."

Belmar will also deploy drones to monitor social distancing on the beach. And touchless sensors will be installed on beach showers this week.