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Wildwood, New Jersey. Photo: Kevin Jarrett.

Wildwood Democratic mayor fears ‘economic catastrophe to the Jersey Shore’

Byron asks Murphy to lay out a timetable for reopening

By David Wildstein, May 28 2020 9:32 am

A Democratic mayor of a town dependent upon the tourism industry is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to lay out his plan for reopening  South Jersey’s seaside resorts as a way of avoiding “economic catastrophe to the Jersey Shore.”

“As a seasonal economy, summer is critical to Wildwood and the rest of the Jersey Shore communities,” said Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron, a Democrat. “With the loss of the Memorial Day weekend behind us, we simply cannot afford any further delay.”

In the summer, Wildwood’s population expands by as much as five-thousand percent, from 5,325 to as many as 250,000.

“While I understand and supported the Governor’s initial statewide stay-at-home order and closure of all non-essential retail businesses, it is time to reopen shore towns,” Byron said.  “For the last three months people have adopted to the necessary safeguards that can allow us to appropriately function with more normal activities.”

Byron said he would agree to maintain effective crowd behavior and other limitations.

“Countless workers, small business owners, and their families depend exclusively on the twenty or so weeks of our seasonal economy,” the mayor said.  “This short span of time cannot be further reduced without permanently crippling people’s year-round survival.”

According to Byron, Murphy can ease fears of local businesses and the Wildwood workforce by simply laying out a more definitive timetable reopening the Jersey Shore.

Byron is also asking Murphy to allow small businesses to reopen  and for immediate approval of outdoor restaurant seating.

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