Jay Weintraub, president of the Margate Homeowners Association, said he’s been hearing from some second homeowners who aren’t sure if the time is right to visit their vacation home.
And their concern isn’t just about getting or spreading COVID-19.
“They may call or write to us and say, ‘is it safe to go to Margate?’ Where their points of view are coming from, with their fear, is posts on Facebook,” he explained.“There are a few people in Margate who have said some very nasty things about second homeowners.”
Because Gov. Murphy is suggesting people who don’t live down the shore full-time stay away, year-round shore residents get scared when they see license plates that aren’t from New Jersey, Weintraub said.
And the incidents aren’t only online.
“My wife was accosted by somebody who saw a Pennsylvania plate and said many not nice things about, ‘shoobie go home,’ which was inappropriate,” he said. “A friend of mine was walking his dogs and someone said, ‘get out of here, it’s another shoobie walking their dog.’ ”
Weintraub believes a small handful of people are doing this, and overall, describes the people of Margate as “welcoming.”
“I personally think that there’s some great people in Margate that have been here for many, many years,” he said. “And the stories you hear come from a few people in Margate, not from the majority.”
Which is why when he gets asked by second homeowners if it’s safe to come down, he gives them all the same answer.
“I tell people come on down, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” he said.
Margate police say they haven’t received reports of people being targeted or verbally attacked by shore residents because they don’t live there throughout the year.
A car with a Pennsylvania license plate was vandalized in Margate last month, but police say that was an isolated incident, and the license plate had nothing to do with the vandalism.
Weintraub also said homeowners associations in other shore towns, including Ocean City, Avalon and the Wildwoods, have shared similar stories with him about residents confronting second homeowners.