MONMOUTH COUNTY – The Board of County Commissioners have announced the opening of the 2021 summer tourism season at a press conference at the Avon Boardwalk.
“I am excited for this tourism season and getting our restaurants and businesses back on track for a great summer,” Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to Monmouth County Tourism said. “I can’t wait to see all of our Monmouth County beaches and businesses full of happy visitors from near and far!”
Arnone reminded everyone that Memorial Day weekend is dedicated to those who have fought for our freedoms and made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Especially during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, we honor and remember our military members and families, veterans, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. My office is proud to issue Veterans ID and Gold Star Parent Cards, and to have launched our ‘Honoring our Heroes’ Military Appreciation Program, which provides special discounts from local retailers to our veterans and Gold Star parents,” Monmouth County Clerk, Christine Giordano Hanlon, Esq, said. “Over the past five years, our program has grown exponentially to include hundreds of Monmouth County’s local businesses, and I am thankful for their support of our military members and their families. I encourage veterans and local businesses to visit our website for more information.”
Vaccines will be available in three popular tourism spots during Memorial Day weekend, Commissioner Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley said.
“We would like to announce that the County has partnered with the National Parks Service, Asbury Park, Long Branch and the Visiting Nurses Association to offer vaccines this weekend at Gateway National Park in Sandy Hook, Pier Village in Long Branch and the Asbury Park Convention Hall,” Kiley said. “The vaccines will be administered on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no appointment necessary for those 18 and older. Minors between the ages of 12 to 18 years old will need an appointment and a legal guardian present when they receive the vaccine.”
If you are at least 12 and live, work or attend school in Monmouth County, you can go to the Brookdale Community College for a vaccination without an appointment. The Brookdale vaccination site is open Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
Arnone talked about the effects the pandemic caused on businesses last year.
“As you may remember, last year, indoor dining was prohibited the entire summer season – a major blow to our seasonal businesses and year-round restaurants in Monmouth County,” Arnone said. “Tourism saw a loss of thousands of jobs and Food and Beverage Spending saw a loss of $186 million, but we are confident that this year will be better than ever.”
“We are looking forward to a safe and successful summer season here in Avon-by-the-Sea and all of Monmouth County. Our beaches and businesses are open and ready for visitors to return and enjoy during their trip to the Jersey Shore,” Avon-By-The-Sea Mayor Ed Bonanno said.
“We are excited to move forward with our 2021 summer season with the freedom to gather, celebrate and enjoy the activities that make life special here at the Jersey Shore,” Dana Lancellotti, President & CEO of New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association said.
Arnone also reminded business owners that the county has a new program to help offset costs of new hires.
“The Monmouth County Division of Workforce Development will be supporting our local businesses through the ‘New Hire Incentive Program’ which will allow a business to hire someone who may need training and the county can pay up to 50% of the new hire’s salary up to $10,000 while they learn the new skill on the job,” Arnone said. “Businesses must make the request prior to hiring so we invite businesses to call Workforce Development at 732-683-8850 to learn more about the eligibility requirements.”
“I am very concerned about our service industry. Five weeks ago, I put together a program to share basic information about businesses hiring with ‘Helped Wanted’ signs displayed,” Joe Leone Introna, owner of Joe Leone’s Italian Specialties and Catering said. “There is a variety of businesses included and I have asked the Commissioners to share this information with state officials as we continue to deal with this labor shortage in the service industry.”
“I am really desperate for service employees,” Robert Kash of Great Restaurants NJ said, who owns several restaurants in Monmouth County. “Now, we have people knocking down our doors but, unfortunately, I have to close off sections of my restaurants because I cannot supply the demand. I do not have enough employees.”
For more information about Monmouth County tourism, go to tourism.visitmonmouth.com.