Wildwoods Close Boardwalk; OK Some Beach Exceptions; Crest Closes Its Beach

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WILDWOOD - The Wildwoods' mayors announced April 6 that they are making beach closures, with Crest opting to close its beaches completely, effective immediately. North Wildwood and Wildwood have banned beach activity except surfing, fishing, running, walking, biking and metal detecting, effective April 9, according to city officials.

The Wildwood Boardwalk will also be closed starting April 9, Wildwood Mayor Peter Byron stated.

The Crest beachfront bike path is closed, effective immediately. The seawall and bike path in North Wildwood will be open from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. for exercise, Mayor Patrick Rosenello stated.

“We just couldn’t agree to allowing the exceptions,” Don Cabrera, Wildwood Crest’s mayor, said in a phone interview. “I guess it’s just a different philosophy when it comes down to it. We’d rather err on the super side of caution, rather than allow exceptions, because sometimes that’s where the mistakes get made.”

Cabrera had previously said the three mayors would act in unison but talks broke down in the morning April 6 and North Wildwood and Wildwood decided to go in a more lenient direction.

“By nature of those activities, they practice safe social distancing anyway. Surfers don’t surf on top of each other, if you’re on a bicycle you’re on a bicycle, if you’re jogging, you’re jogging. So we felt the beach was certainly a safe spot for people to do these certain activities,” Byron said in an April 7 interview.

Rosenello and Byron said they didn’t want to hurt locals and haven’t observed misuse of the beaches or boardwalk yet. But all three mayors said they are doing this as a deterrent to second homeowners considering coming down to the shore."

“If enforcement becomes an issue we can always make things stricter,” Rosenello said.

Rosenello added, in a phone interview, that he’s nervous closing open public spaces would create a hazard on streets and sidewalks.

“There’s a presumption among a lot of these towns that by closing these outdoor features, you are going to discourage people from coming down. Hopefully that is the case. The problem is, if you do not discourage people from coming down you have closed all outdoor recreation space. People are still going to go out on the sidewalks and streets. I’m concerned we may end up making the situation worse if that’s the case,” Rosenello said.

“It’s all preemptive,” he added.

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