POINT PLEASANT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Many people staked out their spots on the Jersey Shore this Labor Day.

Masks are required on New Jersey beaches if social distancing isn’t possible.

As CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported, families flocked to the shore to soak up some final moments of sunshine as Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer.

“We started the summer here and we ended the summer here,” Rudy Perez, of Yonkers, told Caloway. “Point Pleasant is one of the best attractions in Jersey. ”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The lingering coronavirus pandemic meant the summer looked very different this year. Masks and social distancing were the new normal on the beach and the boardwalk.

Still, after a spring and summer many would like to forget, the beach was an escape for people like Perez and his family, who came from Yonkers for just that purpose.

“It kind of took us away from what reality in New York is going down,” he said. “It was just a peace of mind. People actually get to enjoy themselves out here.”

MORE: Labor Day Highlights Importance Of Essential Workers Keeping Country Moving Throughout Pandemic

But as summer winds down, it’s back to reality for some. Many are heading back home Monday, hoping next summer feels more normal than this one.

“I think that will happen in time, and then we’ll have new challenges,” said Joe McCarthy, of Manasquan.

“I have hope that things will get better, and soon, rather than later,” Perez added. “I mean, for the kids’ sake.”

By noon Monday, the beach and boardwalk had started filling up, and businesses were hoping to cash in on a busy weekend after an abbreviated summer.

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