While Ocean City businesses are thrilled with Governor Murphy's decision to lift the stay-at-home order, they say the executive order "does not go far enough for Ocean City's boardwalk businesses," and they're running out of time.
In response, the Ocean City Boardwalk Merchants Association launched the #OpenOCNJ petition on Change.org urging Murphy to fully reopen businesses and restaurants to give Ocean City the summer it deserves.
"We followed by the governor’s executive order and shut down our businesses, delayed opening for the season and prohibited shoppers from entering our stores, eating in our restaurants, or enjoying our rides. We simply cannot survive even another month of this. It is time to open all local Ocean City businesses. Today."
Merchants say the economic shutdown has taken a significant toll on not only Ocean City's businesses, but their employees ability to pay rent, taxes, and even put food on the table. They fear people will lose their livelihood without a full reopening.
According to the petition, as a result of Governor Murphy’s continued economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
· Revenues are down by more than 50 percent for 3 in 4 Ocean City, NJ, Boardwalk businesses.
· 76 percent of Boardwalk businesses have cut their workforce by more than 50 percent.
· 1 in 8 Boardwalk businesses say they have considered closing for good.
· 100 percent of Ocean City businesses report having social distancing, safety, and hygiene plans in place.
Despite the guidelines and safeguard that must be in place Ocean City businesses say they're up to the task and feel they can balance a full reopening while keeping employees and customers safe.
The petition- https://www.change.org/OpenOCNJNow -has reached over 2,900 signatures putting them more than halfway to their goal of 5,000.
The association continues to urge that the time is NOW for indoor dining, water parks, arcades, and rides. They fear the uncertainty that the next few weeks will bring as most of the Ocean City businesses only "thrive during the summer months."
The businesses feel they've gone beyond doing their part and are calling on Murphy to do his.