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Signs Ask Visitors And Locals To Practice Social Distancing Ahead Of Ocean City, Maryland, Beach And Boardwalk Reopening

OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) -- Ocean City, Maryland, is set to reopen its beach and boardwalk Saturday.

"I think something has to give a little bit and it has to start somewhere," said Chuck Niglio who owns a vacation home.

Signs have been placed warning people to social distance.

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said earlier this week police are not going to be checking the driver's licenses of out-of-town visitors, but noted the governor's stay-at-home order is still in place.

Ocean City Mayor Says Town Will Not Enforce Local-Only Mandate, Require Masks As Beach Reopens Saturday

"We have to look to people to do the right thing. The governor's order, if you look at that, most people have complied," Mayor Meehan said Tuesday.

While police tape blocked entrances to the dunes, and signs warned people the beach and boardwalk remained closed, several people ignored that on Friday.


Still, many residents said they believe the mayor made the right call to reopen the beach now.

"People are getting excited. They're not going to want it shut back down on them so let's keep our fingers crossed," Jeff Robinson told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. "I definitely think Ocean City is ready. There's no question."

Jessica Macias said she supports a gradual reopening and she hopes it will help small businesses.

"As the public, they should know by now to stay six feet apart," she said. "This place means a lot to me and I don't want to see any of our businesses shut down."

Bruce Krasner runs the T-Shirt Factory, a chain of shops. He said he was lucky to get help from the paycheck protection program and has not laid off any workers, but he worries about how long his business can last under these conditions.

He must remain closed, and the opening of the boardwalk does not help him.

"I own several stores in different cities and it has been devastating. There's no business. We are down 80 percent," Krasner told Hellgren.

"I've been on this beach for 40 years. It would be a shame if I didn't survive this. It could go that way. It's very possible. Even if it's a good summer, it's not going to make up for the 80 percent that we're down. In my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined this," he added.

The nearby Delaware beaches remain closed and no decision has been made on when they will reopen.

Hotels and short-term lodging rentals in Ocean City remain closed to everyone except essential workers.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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