In our new world where most of us don’t leave home without a mask shore towns are preparing for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. But it will be unlike any other.
Boardwalks have been reopened but in some you must keep to the right and be mindful of social distancing. Police will be monitoring how close sunbathers are on the sand and there will be an accounting of how many are allowed on the beach.
Asbury Park Beach Manager Gary Giberson said no matter how many badges have been sold and how many beachgoers show up for the holiday weekend, the beaches are ready.
“The beach rakes have been active. We can’t wait until this pandemic is behind us,” he said.
Giberson also said there is line striping points set up for social distancing and hand sanitizer is on order. He also said Personal Protective Equipment, such as masks and gloves, are available to beach staff.
“We’ll be ready regardless of what happens, weather or otherwise,” he said.
Beach passes, this year, are being sold on the Viply app. For those who don’t have access to a smart phone, the city made in person sales available this week for seasonal badges only.
Daily badges will go on sale, via Viply, beginning Fri., May 22 at 5 p.m.
Fees for seasonal beach passes this year are $70 for adults; $20 for seniors (62 and over) and $20 for teens. There are no refunds on any season badges for any reason.
Sonia Spina, communications director, said 6000 season badges had already been sold on Viply and more would be released for sale in increments.
She said the number of badges sold will be determined on a day-to-day basis.
Because season badge holders don’t go to the beach every day, a daily accounting of how many people are on the beach will be tallied. Officials will monitor the beaches and make a calculation, based on the square footage of the beach, how many daily badges will be sold each individual day to allow for social distancing.
All daily badges will have to be purchased on Viply, with no money changing hands.
Guidelines for beach attendance can be found on the city’s website at Cityofasburypark.com.
There is no state law regarding masks but beachgoers are asked to wear them while using the restrooms, on ramps to and from the beach and on the boardwalk and beach when they cannot maintain social distancing.
Police will patrol the boardwalk and beaches enforcing social distancing.
The Avon Board of Commissioners has authorized a contract with an online service for the sale of daily beach badges. The commissioners also approved a resolution banning parking on Ocean Avenue and all diagonal parking in the borough.
Those measures had already been in effect as the result of an executive order issued in March.
“It’s necessary for our town,” Mayor Ed Bonanno said. “It will help control the beach population and allow more area for exercise.”
The mayor noted that handicapped parking would continue to be available.
The beach will be open for swimming with lifeguards present on the weekends of May 23, May 30, June 6 and June 13.
Beaches will be guarded daily starting on June 15.
The beach and boardwalk will close each day at 8 p.m.
Daily badges will be sold online starting May 23. Representatives of Viply, a Manasquan based digital pass service, will train Avon’s beach personnel on how to use the new system before the Saturday start, according to Borough Administrator Kerry McGuigan. Daily badges will be available through the Viply app or at viplypass.com. Daily badges are $10 and Viply charges an additional service fee. The Viply service is provided at no cost to the borough.
Up to 500 daily badges will be sold each day on weekends through June 14, and daily after that. The commissioners decided that daily badge sales should begin at 6 a.m. each day after McGuigan pointed out that no refunds would be available for badges purchased in advance of a sudden change in the weather.
Chief of Police Michael F. Haar said the borough’s electronic sign on Main Street would be updated if the daily badge limit is reached.
Season badges will be sold in person only at tag booths on weekends beginning Saturday, and every day starting on June 15.
“In three days we sold the number of badges we usually sell in five weeks,” Bonanno said as the commissioners discussed preseason badge sales at the meeting.
Regular seasonal badges are $95. Senior (65 and up with proof of age) and young adult (ages 12 to 18) badges are $50. Tag booths accept exact change or checks only. Patrons wishing to pay by check must present a valid driver’s license. There is currently no overall limit on seasonal badge sales, but there is a limit of 10 badges per transaction.
“We request anybody buying a beach badge at the tag booth, walking on the boardwalk or entering or exiting the beach wear a face covering or mask,” according to regulations published earlier this week on the borough web site.
Public Works Superintendent Scott Hauselt said that initially, bathrooms will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. The schedule will be expanded as additional personnel become available.
“The use of face coverings or masks are strongly encouraged while using the bathroom facilities,” according to the borough guideline.
Only “soft” coolers will be allowed on the beach and boardwalk and picnicking will not be permitted on streets, sidewalks or the boardwalk
In Bradley Beach beeaches will be open and staffed with lifeguards on a daily basis beginning Sat., May 22. Traditionally, there are no lifeguards in Bradley Beach on weekdays until the end of the school year.
Badges will not be required for admission to beaches on weekdays until June 18. Badges will be required on weekends only until June 18. Beginning on June 18, badges will be required every day.
“It’s what makes sense to do,” Mayor Gary Engelstad said. “If it means cutting our margins to keep our kids safe in the water, that’s paramount to me.”
The mayor noted that weather conditions between now and June 18 will determine how much or how little the beach is used on weekdays.
The updated guidelines for summer operations were released earlier this week. They were prepared by Borough Administrator David G. Brown II and approved by Police Chief Leonard Guida, who coordinates the borough’s Office of Emergency Management.
Proposed beach policies were discussed at a workshop meeting of the Borough Council on May 12. The council is scheduled to meet again on Tues., May 26.
All 11 access points along the beach will be open beginning Saturday. Water fountains, picnic areas, playgrounds and pavilions will remain closed.
“Members of the public are required to practice social distancing and stay six feet apart whenever practicable, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners,” according to the borough’s web site.
Restrooms and showers will be in use with a “proactive cleaning process in place that will be implemented by the Department of Public Works,” the regulations say.
“It is strongly recommended that all employees and visitors wear a face covering,” according to the guidelines.
Under the provisions of a state executive order, all organized group activities including sports are prohibited. The borough’s bocce courts, mini-golf concession and surf camp will remain closed.
Boardwalk benches “will not be in use,” according to the regulations. Bicycles will not be permitted on the boardwalk after 10 a.m. daily.
In-person sales of season badges resumed earlier this week. Regular season badges are currently sold out but more are expected to be available this weekend. Senior and junior season badges can be purchased with cash or check at the Third Avenue and Cliff Avenue booths on May 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Season badges will be available for purchase online using the Viply app and viplypass.com beginning on Saturday. Sales will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
There will be a limit per Viply transaction of four adult badges, two seniors and two juniors. Regular season badges are $80 while senior (65 and up) and junior (ages 13-15) badges cost $30. Viply charges an additional fee with each transaction.
Badges purchased online can be picked up Saturday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Brinley Avenue booth, weather permitting.
Daily badges will be sold from May 23 to 25 and then on weekends until June 18, when daily badges will be sold every day. Daily badges will cost $10. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
“The maximum badge sales limit will be established by a formula that anticipates utilization of seasonal badges,” according to the updated borough guidelines. “Maximum beach badge sales for all days will be capped at a projected max attendance of 10,000 individuals (employees and visitors included).
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is opening its beaches beginning Sat., May 23. A purchased beach badge is needed to enter the life-guarded beach.
“Because people will receive healing in body, mind and spirit from the sun, surf, and sea breezes, we are delighted to open our beachfront to residents and visitors,” said OGCMA’s President Michael Badger. “The lifeguarded beach season will fully comply with all State and local regulations. Several precautions are being taken to ensure a much safer day at the shore during this time of crisis.”
Signage will inform beach goers of the new restrictions and how to enjoy the beach safely. Seasonal and daily beach badge sales are being sold in limited quantities in order to avoid overcrowding. Beach staff and OG volunteers will remind visitors to observe social distancing requirements while enforcement will be provided by the Neptune Township Police Department. If necessary, the beach will be closed to additional visitors when shoreline maximum capacity is reached. Boardwalk benches are taped to prevent large gatherings. Larger public bathroom buildings have been closed and the OGCMA has rented singular occupancy portable toilets.
Additional lifeguard stands were donated by the Ocean Grove Beach Foundation so that only one guard will be sitting in each bench at a time. Exercising caution for its employees, the Camp Meeting Association’s beach staff will be wearing face coverings. In order to avoid excessive closeness and contact, beachgoers are strongly encouraged to use the online www.viplypass.com application to purchase daily badges prior to arriving at the beach. It is requested that all beach patrons cover their mouth and nose when approaching staff. Prepaid season badge pickup will take place at the Great Auditorium box office, not the beach office which has been closed to the public.