‘We are running out of time,’ boardwalk business owners say to Murphy

The boardwalk in Ocean City, N.J.

A 2019 photo of the boardwalk in Ocean City, N.J. (Bill Barlow/WHYY)

Business owners on the Ocean City boardwalk are pleading with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to lift restrictions that they say are negatively impacting their ability to earn a living.

The governor Tuesday ended the stay-home order, eased limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, and allowed outdoor amusement businesses to operate if they abide by social distancing protocols.

The easing of restrictions does not apply to amusement parks, water parks, arcades or indoor dining. But the order allows boardwalk amusement games to operate if they are not located within an amusement park and equipment is sanitized before and after each use.

In a statement, the Ocean City Boardwalk Merchants Association applauded the state’s progress on reopening but said it “does not go far enough for the Ocean City’s boardwalk businesses and the thousands of people they employ.”

Wes Kazmarck, president of the association, said all boardwalk businesses are ready to open today in a safe manner that will protect workers and guests.

“Our businesses may not be essential to Governor Murphy, but they are essential to us, our families and everyone we employ here in Ocean City,” he said. “They are essential to paying mortgage, rent, taxes, putting food on the table, paying for health care, and planning for retirement.”

“We are running out of time,” Kazmarck added.

Last week, the association released a statement that noted all business members felt that they would be “negatively impacted” if amusement parks do not reopen.

For his part, Murphy has not issued a firm date on when additional businesses can operate, stressing repeatedly that “data determines dates.”

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