POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Local leaders are hoping people will be heading out to enjoy beaches down at the Shore.
Tourism took a big hit last summer at places like Seaside Park. But as CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported Wednesday, a New Jersey Assembly member is hoping mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites will get things rolling again.
Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra says bring it on.
“We have 50,000 people a day here in Point Pleasant Beach, and, obviously, you want to go to where the people are in regards to vaccinations. We’re supportive of anything that is actually going to help bring more vaccinations to the public,” Kanitra said.
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Assemblyman Ron Dancer has proposed legislation urging the state Department of Health to deploy mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites to the shore ahead of the anticipated summer crowds.
“It’s about our health. It’s about our economy. You can’t separate the two,” Dancer said. “People are ready to bring New Jersey back and this is one of the best ways to do it.”
Dancer said the best-case scenario is the sites would be in place by Memorial Day.
Local businesses said it’s the much-needed boost they need. Last summer was a financial struggle for many businesses on Grand Central Avenue in Lavallette.
“It was almost like a ghost town,” Beach Authority’s Lien Ayash said.
“A lot of uncertainty, a lot of stress,” added Gregory Kohr of Kohr’s Original.
Ice creak shop owner Kohr said he believes testing and vaccination sites would bring peace of mind to many.
“Last year, a lot of people were afraid to be around crowds. So if they are getting tests and they’re finding that they’re not asymptomatic or have the COVID, it’ll make people more comfortable and more willing to come down and spend time at the Shore,” Kohr said.
Dancer said more than half of the state’s tourism revenue comes from the Jersey Shore, and he’s confident testing and vaccination sites are just what that area needs to bring it back Jersey Strong.