Retailers worry about impact of continuing shutdown

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As of Monday, May 18, at the direction of Gov. Phil Murphy, Spring Lake relaxed its curbside pickup rules in the downtown to include nonessential retail businesses. PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

SPRING LAKE — As restrictions are lifted to allow beaches to open for Memorial Day Weekend, business owners in Spring Lake say they feel forgotten, frustrated and helpless about the continuing impact of the two-month-long shutdown of most retail activity.

Some worry that the state and borough relaxation of curbside pickup for retailers will not be enough to offset the damage that has been done to their businesses.

“I hope that they lift this sooner rather than later because I think the longer this stays the more likely people are going to close,”  Elke Ridge, owner of Whimsicality, said Monday. “Shore towns have such great little shops and amazing little eateries. Wouldn’t it be a shame to see all of that get thrown away?”

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Ms. Ridge said she was worried that the coming holiday weekend — normally a big opening for the summer sales season — will simply expose the damage.

“It’s definitely frustrating to go into Memorial Day weekend knowing that if we can’t open by then we’re going to lose out on a lot of sales,” she said.

As of Monday, May 18, at the direction of Gov. Phil Murphy, Spring Lake relaxed its curbside pickup rules in the downtown to include nonessential retail businesses. However,  storefronts must remain closed to customers.

“It’s not much but we’re willing to accept it because we need to get opened,” Moya Rush, owner of the Irish Centre, said of curbside pickup. “There’s a lot of mom and pop stores in town … I can’t see a lot of them hanging on much longer if they can’t [open].”

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