Today’s weather had people flocking to beaches early ahead of Memorial Day.
In Ocean City, the beach season begins with a businessperson plunge. Doug Jewell has been leading the charge into the surf for more than a dozen years. He’s optimistic that this will be a great summer at the shore.
“Last year was our best summer in the past five years and this summer is going to be even better. Once this [spring] rain stops, and I believe it’s stopped, the weather is clear now and it’s going to be a gangbuster season,” he said. Matthew Harris is a plumber who says he’s very busy opening homes for the summer, turning the utilities back on and in some cases clearing a few clogged pipes.”You get the sand in the showers and the bathtubs everybody coming home from the beach and then the eventual toilet running and anything else that comes along the line,” he said.With the summer comes the need for thousands of seasonal workers to fill the jobs at the shore, everything from maids to restaurant servers to amusement ride operators. Denise Beckson is head of human resources for the Morey organization, which has amusement piers and hotels among other businesses in the Wildwoods. She says applications from the tri-state region are down 14 percent this year.”We still have about 200 jobs to fill, we are a little surprised by that that’s not what we forecast, scratching our heads a little coming up with good options to make sure we don’t go too long without enough people,” she said.Beckson says Morey’s operations are using maintenance people to fill in for ride operators and even repurposing people such as lifeguards in their off hours to run carnival type games on their piers.She says the number of unfilled jobs will start to improve once foreign exchange students come to town. She says the company relies on them for one third of their workforce.