Beach revenue poured into Monmouth County’s cities last summer, exceeding amounts in 2019, the summer before the pandemic began, district officials said Tuesday.
At a press conference in Keyport, officials said sales could “decline slightly” from 2020 if people hit by lockdowns and fewer options headed to the beach in droves.
The exact numbers are not yet fully counted, but Thomas A. Arnone, director of the Monmouth County Commissioner, said the trend is positive and bodes well for the county’s tourism industry for the fall and rest of the year. Almost all cities have stated that their 2021 totals are ahead of 2019, he added.
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“Our numbers are a little lower than last year, but much higher than last year (2019),” said Arnone. “I think that’s a really positive sign.”
Keyport Mayoress Collette J. Kennedy said the district had seen a surge in tourism as people visited the city’s waterfront parks, outdoor events, restaurants and shops.
“While we’re kind of sad today to turn the calendar over to say summer is over, it’s now our main season’s turn,” she said. “We look forward to introducing the fall season here.”
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Meanwhile, Arnone said the county has distributed $ 46 million in grants funded by the federal CARES bill to small businesses. The coronavirus relief was in increments of $ 10,000.
Companies “have had hard blows,” said Arnone. Some were “unjustified hits” because the regulations were “a bit difficult for them,” he said. “But they have overcome them, and you know, they rebound.”
Monmouth County hired a private technology company and handled the distribution of the money itself. Other New Jersey counties used a government agency.
“We are really proud of that,” said Arnone. “It went to the people who need it and who needed the help.”
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Janet Gallo-Markowski, owner of Pearl Yoga & Fitness in Keyport, received a scholarship. “Without your help, I’m not really sure if … I could stand here and say that I am the owner of Pearl.”
A yoga business is also affected by tourism, she said. People who already have an established yoga practice and are close by can stop by. “They need their yoga fix,” she said.
People can also come as a member’s guest, added Gallo-Markowski. “We have a relationship with the tourism industry.”
David P. Willis: [email protected]