Ocean City residents adjust to shore life without beaches or boardwalks

Ocean City beach closed due to coronavirus
Photo credit Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio
By KYW Newsradio 1060
OCEAN CITY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — More and more Jersey Shore towns are closing off beaches and boardwalks to keep outside visitors away during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Ocean City was the first shore town in the area to close them. Other towns like Sea Isle and Cape May followed.

Now at any boardwalk entrance in Ocean City, there are barricades that read “CLOSED For your health and safety.”

For year-round residents like Ken Eielson, the closures came as a surprise.

“Initially it was like, ‘why are they doing this?’ Because really, there weren’t that many people out,” he said.

Since then, he’s had a change of heart, after seeing that people really seemed to be staying away from Ocean City this past week.

“I realized it’s the best for everyone to not have anyone on the boardwalk or down on the beach, because ultimately, it’s about everyone’s health and wellness,” he said.

Eielson was on Ocean Avenue Wednesday taking his daily walk with Elizabeth Peter — a walk they would normally take on the boardwalk. They settled for one block up.

“We’re in the street — that’s where you are finding us,” said Peter. “Compliance is really important.”

It’s an adjustment she’s not upset about, as she knows these temporary beach and boardwalk bans are for her safety and everyone else’s.

For Randall Evans, it’s simply bad timing. He moved to Ocean City from Alaska last week — right when the beaches closed.

But, he said he’ll happily hold off on his first boardwalk experience if it means staying safe from coronavirus.

So far, neither Peter nor Eielson have not seen people breaking the rules.

“And looking on the cameras on the boardwalk, we haven’t seen anyone,” Eielson added. “The only thing I saw was a police car on the boardwalk sitting.

“Whatever happens this summer happens,” he continued. “The bottom line is we have to be safe, (or) summer may very well get deep-sixed.”