MONMOUTH COUNTY – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders held a press conference recently to reflect on the summer season here at the shore.
With COVID-19 affecting numerous businesses, officials looked back on this summer season and saw its success through a pandemic.
“It is remarkable to look back at the success of this summer season when just a few months ago we were not sure what it would look like or if our beaches would be open in time for visitors due to the pandemic,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to Monmouth County Tourism. “It took teamwork and constant communication between our shore towns to ensure we were able to provide beachgoers with a safe place to visit and enjoy during this unprecedented summer season.”
Freeholder Director Arnone stated the successful beach season was mainly due to the towns’ compliance to adapt to changing social-distancing policies throughout the summer and finding the best practices from one another.
“I’m pleased to announce our beaches brought in over $23.5 million in total beach badge revenue this summer,” said Freeholder Director Arnone. “While we’re still waiting on the final number from a few towns that just wrapped up an extended season, we’ve already exceeded the $23 million total in 2019.”
In Monmouth County, tourism brings in more than 8.9 million visitors annually and $2.6 billion in visitor spending. Although the 2020 season statistics will not be known until 2021, Freeholder Director Arnone expects a big dip in visitor spending.
“Our small business community was hit extremely hard by the pandemic and statewide shutdown,” said Arnone. “While our beaches reopened in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the State shutdown left a majority of our businesses closed until mid-June. Moreover, our restaurants and other food establishments were prohibited from providing indoor dining all summer.”
He applauded the municipalities that worked together with the business community swiftly to arrange pedestrian plazas so restaurants and stores could present outdoor dining and shopping.
“As cooler weather creeps in, it is important we continue to support our local businesses. Fall is one of the best times to visit Monmouth County and our restaurants, downtowns and stores have a lot to offer to our residents and visitors long past the last warm beach day,” said Freeholder Director Arnone.