Wildwoods Boardwalk and Beaches Stay Open, Possible Closure Looms

Despite closed businesses, the Wildwoods Boardwalk and beaches will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic until the mayors deem closure necessary. North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello said, in an interview with the Herald, that he believes a decision to close the beaches and boardwalk will be a result of “the behavior of people.”

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WILDWOOD - The Wildwoods' mayors agree that there is no need to close the beaches or boardwalk, as several county towns have done, in response to the coronavirus.

In separate interviews, the mayors of North Wildwood, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest said they agreed to be consistent with any potential decision and are in constant communication on the issue.

“Right now, we’re obviously watching it closely," said North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello. "We’re hearing from people both ways. People who want us to close it, people who want us to leave it open, and really, it’s going to come down to the behavior of people."

“The first time we see a group of chairs on the beach, the beach will probably be closed the next day,” he added.

As the weather improves, the mayors understand an uptick in traffic may force them to make restrictions. For now, they want to keep the beaches and boardwalk available for bikers, walkers/runners, surfers and fishermen, all of which are safe, socially distant activities.

“We felt it was still a little premature yet. We didn’t want to hurt our locals, who traditionally, year-round, go for their bike rides and their jogs on the beach. We just didn’t feel it was time,” said Wildwood Mayor Peter Byron.

“The governor says you have to have some recreation. You can’t do that in your living room,” he added.

Wildwood Crest Mayor Don Cabrera said, in a text message, people need to be responsible and follow social distancing guidelines, adding that “enforcement remains the number one issue.” He added that it’s important people get fresh air and pointed to the large size of the beaches and the complications of open businesses on the boardwalk, like Sam’s Pizza, as reasons not to shutter the area completely.

Ocean City, Sea Isle and Cape May have all closed their beaches, boardwalks or promenades. Byron said he hasn’t been in contact with any of those mayors about this issue.

“It’s the unknown we can’t predict right now. We’ll take it day by day,” said Byron.