BELMAR-  The borough will move towards virtual sales of beach badges, the mayor said at a council meeting Wednesday evening, which would help officials better control crowding next summer.

The announcement was made during the borough’s council meeting on Nov. 4, saying that the borough was in talks with an outside vendor for a digital sales platform, a move other municipalities in the area have already pivoted towards through sites such as Viply.

“We’re moving to do everything on either an app or on the website so that all the beach badges, season badges daily badges, senior badges, will all be done either on the app or online,” Mayor Mark Walsifer said at the borough council meeting on Wednesday night. Once a badge is purchased online or via an app, the mayor said, beachgoers would be able to come to a booth to pick up their badges.

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Borough officials did not say the name of the vendor they were in talks with.

Beachgoers who need a cash option in order to purchase a badge would still be able to pay in-person at the Taylor Pavilion, the mayor added.

This past summer, due to social distancing guidelines put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, the borough had limited the number of daily badges sold in order to ensure that beachgoers could property distance themselves. Should the pandemic continue into next summer, the mayor said, having a digital platform to sell badges could help the borough mitigate the size of crowds, as well as limit contact between borough employees and beachgoers.

“It helps our employees with this pandemic, but it will also help the public,” that mayor said.

Council President Thomas Brennan, who has been a proponent for moving badge sales online, said that he was “thrilled” by the prospect.

Also at the borough council, members voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance, 2020-41, amending its rules regarding fees and charges. The proposed amendment would add a section that reads: “All persons who purchase a season badge or senior citizen season badge and pay via credit card shall be responsible for paying the credit card processing fee presented at the time of purchase.”

A $2 processing fee will be added to the sale of a season beach badge, which currently costs $70 and a $1 processing fee would be added to those who purchase a senior beach badge, which currently costs $30.

The next meeting of the borough schedule is slated for Tuesday, Dec. 1.

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