Mayor Donohue: “We don’t have the option” to keep Cape May County closed all summer

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A leading Jersey Shore county mayor says keeping Cape May County closed all summer simply isn’t an option.

“We don’t have the option to not reopen Cape May County for the summer. That’s not an option,” Donohue opined near the close of Monday’s remotely-conducted Township Committee meeting.

“I don’t think people really realize what that would mean, if we didn’t have a summer,” continued Donohue, whose Garden State Parkway-adjacent community is home to many seasonal employers and employees. “If we lost $6 billion in tourism revenue and $550 million in tax revenue, and all those jobs and all those tips and all that gas that didn’t get pumped. You have to balance the protection of the public health with what would be an economic crisis that could last for years in Cape May County.”

“We have to start looking at and thinking about how we reopen the world,” the Mayor added.

Cape May County is home to some of the country’s most popular and iconic summer beach resorts towns including Ocean City, the Wildwoods, and its namesake Cape May.

In the early hours of the COVID-19 crisis, Wildwood Crest’s mayor suggested closing the bridges to barrier islands to protect the county’s population and vulnerable health care infrastructure. Leaders on both sides of the aisle including Governor Murphy and state Senator Mike Testa Jr. (R-1) have urged non-full time residents to stay away from the Shore for the time being.

Murphy has since indicated that social-distincing restrictions are likely to remain in place through Memorial Day Weekend and possibly into July, a potentially economic disastrous situation for the Jersey Shore economy.