No Benches and Not Much Sun for Holiday Weekend

Coaster Photo – Flags at the Cemetery: At Monmouth Memorial Park Cemetery in Tinton Falls Wilbur Martin, a member of VFW Post 1333, places flags on the graves of soldiers Sun., May 24.

By ELLEN CARROLL and ED SALVAS

There was no volleyball on the beaches, no benches on the boardwalks, no Memorial Day travel forecast from AAA and basically no sunshine.

It was Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore 2020 and the third month of lockdown for many due to the pandemic.

Strollers on the Asbury Park boardwalk stayed to the right, as directed by the line down the middle of the boardwalk, and kept their distance from neighbors

Judy and John Quitne of Ocean Township, John with the help of a walker, strolled the boardwalk enjoying the fresh air.

“We are real happy that the boardwalk is open again,” Judy said.

Judy works as a caregiver for a handicapped man in a wheelchair and said she likes bringing him to the boardwalk or Joe Palaia park for walks and fresh air. She is furloughed from her job with the township recreation department.

“Old people are not as affected with this pandemic, as other people,” Judy said referring to those who have to go to work or take care of young children who are not in school.

She has been spending time on Zoom for Bible studies and joining exercise classes on Youtube presented by a friend.

She also spends some social distance time with her five-year-old granddaughter, whose school schedule is not as grueling as older students’.

The Quitne’s also spend time with their pastor, of True Life Church in Brick, who holds Zoom chats with parishioners.

Robert and Anne Marie Colonna, of Bradley Beach walked to Asbury Park from their hometown wearing matching masks.

Robert said he is doing OK with the pandemic guidelines but believes government officials need to “strike a balance” between safety and saving small businesses, which are suffering great losses because they cannot open.

He believes Gov. Murphy has been inconsistent with guidelines.

“We need to open safely but don’t eliminate, mitigate,” he said. “Open areas with enough space.”

Robert also said it’s up to officials to control the crowds, if they do congregate. The government, he believes, should be working with businesses to help them open including hair salons and tattoos parlors.

“Balance is important because people cannot live in fear,” he said.

A Hazlet family visited Asbury Park to get some exercise and for a change of scenery.

Donald Aherne put on his mask before approaching people but walked with his wife Alice and two children, Morgan and Daniel, without it.

Donald said he approves of the job Murphy is doing, taking a “cautious approach.”

The family said they visit Asbury Park from time to time and were pleased to see many fellow walkers either wearing masks or staying a safe distance.

A Bergen County family, the Bincks, took the ride down to Asbury Park to walk with their three children and spend some time on the beach.

They chose Sunday, because they thought Monday, which was forecast to be sunny, might bring more crowds.

Many out-of-towners like Princeton residents Ray DeVoe and Jeanne Jackson DeVoe said they visit Asbury Park often and while this year is certainly different, Ray DeVoe said he is confident Asbury Park will make it work.

Carteret residents Gagan Singh and Shineta Singh came looking for fresh air after weeks of being stuck at home. It was their first time in Asbury Park and said they will be back when there are more places open.

Eddie Catalano, owner of  Eddie Confetti Ice Cream was also happy to see the sun.

“My business is strictly weather-driven” he said, and he was encouraged by the crowd Monday and noted they were keeping their distance while waiting on line to order.

But he said he’ll miss the big events that bring people down, the Pride Festival, 4th of July fireworks and the Stone Pony Summer Stage.

There was plenty of space on the beach, even though the daily maximum of 500 badges were sold out Sunday and Monday.

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