POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Overcrowding at the beach is a main concern as we move closer to the summer.

So far, beach reopenings in New Jersey are showing mixed results.

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At the Ocean City Boardwalk this weekend, it felt as if the coronavirus never hit.

Bold beach-goers ventured outside without masks, packed close together, with no signs of social distancing.

“The boardwalk’s been very crowded, it seems. The beach, you can spread out a little more,” one person said.


Over at Point Pleasant Beach, it was sharply contrasting image.

Mayor Paul Kanitra says while Gov. Phil Murphy ordered beaches to observe social distancing, the state provided no resources.

Without adequate enforcement, he took the step to cut down on the number of out-of-town visitors by implementing temporary parking restrictions.

“We just, right now, we can’t expose ourselves. You saw what happened in Belmar, you saw what happened in Wildwood, you saw what happened in Ocean City this past weekend. And I’m not ready to subject my residents or tourists and guests to that kind of exposure just yet,” Kanitra told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

The change is not without controversy.

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The new restrictions only allow residents to park on the east side of the railroad tracks, making it almost impossible for out-of-towners to find a spot near the ocean.

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Those who depend on business from tourists are obviously unhappy.

“A lot of people don’t want to walk that extra one or two miles, so I think a lot less people are gonna come,” said Theresa Cardone, who works at a 7-Eleven in town.

“Unless it’s like a perfect day, I really don’t want to have to bring a gallon of water with me, you know, as I’m walking down there to get there,” another woman said.

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But the mayor says the safety of his residents comes first and foremost.

“As a local elected official, it was genuinely scary because you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, OK, we know that the virus is still among us,” Kanitra said.

The mayor says the biggest hold-up to a full reopening is a lack of beach officers; they are down about two-thirds.

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He says the parking restrictions will likely only last for a couple of weeks, until mid-June, giving them time to fully staff those positions.