This summer's shore business forecast: Cloudy with a touch of virus

People wearing masks walk on the beach at dusk during the coronavirus pandemic on May 7, 2020 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Photo credit Mark Makela/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060
GALLOWAY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A forum hosted by Stockton University this week offered an annual look at what business down the shore could look like this summer. This year’s discussion centered, of course, on the pandemic.

Participants in the 12th annual Jersey Shorecast agreed 2020 got off to a great start, until COVID-19 put the Gross National Product for the first quarter into negative territory. Stockton business professor Michael Busler expects the second quarter to be even worse.

That said, he’d like to see shore businesses begin to reopen next weekend, but concedes that won’t happen.

Whenever businesses are allowed to re-open, it’ll be a challenge for people like Michael Chait with the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. He’s hoping people will come down for large events like the Air Show in August, which usually attracts hundreds of thousands of people.

“Those type of events are what people are going to be looking for and bring back,” he said, “and if we can do them safely and keep our employees safe, keep our customers safe and do them in the right manner and we have that kind of time to prepare, we’re giving ourselves the best opportunity to have a strong 2021.”

But it’ll take time, and perhaps good marketing, to convince people that it’s safe to go down the shore this summer. Businesses will need that optimism to get to next summer.