SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- Officials in Cape May County are moving forward with their reopening plan, ahead of the summer season. While Gov. Phil Murphy extended his health declaration emergency by another month, a gradual plan was rolled out in the last 24 hours to fire up Cape May County shore towns and their seasonal economies.
County leaders presented a lengthy resolution, calling the move a "safe, thoughtful and progressive reopening of public facilities and businesses."
"I'm confident that the governor and his staff are going to lift some restrictions and allow these mom-and-pop, small stores that they're calling nonessential to open," said Cape May County Freeholder and Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio.
While workers power-washed the promenade, the Jersey Shore offseason has never been sleepier.
Most businesses are closed this time of year, but in the ramp-up to Memorial Day, local leaders admit this year will be a shadow of the traditional rush.
Some are skeptical a rebound is even possible.
"They proposed, what, six-foot beach blankets? You're going to have domestic disputes, you're going to have to have full-time police on the beach to enforce anything," one woman said.
Officials established the following timelines:
- Seasonal rentals resuming May 11; shorter-term rentals on June 1
- Hotels and motels will only fill to 60% capacity effective June 1, and full capacity June 22.
Bill Vinsko, an attorney with offices in Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre, says his family has a number of properties across Long Beach Island. He says rentals have not been canceled.
"The concern is, number one, are the beaches going to be open? Two, are the restaurants going to be open? Three, are we going to have people who are too scared to come down to any shore point and are they going to want their money back?" Vinsko said.
County leaders say they will work with the governor's office on a reopening strategy that invests in community safety, the dampening of the spread of the virus and the economic future of the county.
for more features.