MONMOUTH COUNTY — In past years, Monmouth County officials have urged beach-goers in the run-up to Memorial Day weekend to come to the shore in droves. 

With the unofficial start of the summer fast approaching, Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone struck a different tone this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, urging visitors from across the state to “know before you go.”

“The big statement right now is know before you come, know that Monmouth County is open, but we are different,” Mr. Arnone said, announcing that the county will be creating a web page to inform summer tourists of the new restrictions at beaches throughout the county on Monday, May 18 during a press conference in Belmar.

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“Before you get in your car and you come from the north or the south, to know before you go,” he said. “You could be wasting a trip, you can come all the way to one of your favorite destinations … and [find out] that you can’t get on this week, because this is a week you might not be able to get on. Instead of being angry we are going to give you a tool to know.” 

Information will be posted on the county’s website, https://co.monmouth.nj.us.

Freeholder Arnone announced the initiative in Belmar, at Silver Lake, across from the boardwalk and the Taylor Pavilion. Over the weekend, crowds of beach-goers lined up on the boardwalk to purchase seasonal beach badges at the pavilion. The line of individuals who wanted to purchase seasonal beach badges stretched more than five blocks, with those on line keeping a 6-foot distance from one another. 

Belmar Mayor Walsifer speaks during a press conference on Monday, discussing how the borough is preparing for the summer season.
(MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE COAST STAR)

According to Belmar Mayor Mark Walsifer, the borough sold two months worth of badges in one day. 

“When that sun comes out and it’s up to 70 degrees, it’s like trying to hold the ocean back,” Mayor Walsifer said. 

Last year, 8.8 million tourists visited Monmouth County, according to the county. 

During the press conference, some Belmar and other residents protested the opening of the borough’s beachfront. Two protestors, dressed as medieval plague doctors, held signs that read “Welcome to death beach 2020” and “Lives over profits.”

“The actions of our mayors have put everyone’s lives at risk repeatedly,” said Alexis Finch, one of the protesting “plague doctors.” 

She was joined by Jacob Rogers. “There are laws requiring clothing, such as no shirt, no shoes, no services, and they have refused to bring the same thing to the beaches to protect us.”

Check out our other Belmar stories, updated daily. And remember to pick up a copy of The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.

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