By MADDY VITALE
Biking, lounging on the beach, sipping cool drinks, or just strolling the Boardwalk, Labor Day with its spectacular weather, brought flocks of vacationers to savor the waning days of summer.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic changing the landscape where students start either hybrid or virtual learning, and some parents are working from home, some families said the plan is to continue to come down to Ocean City as long as the weather stays beautiful.
The Ocean City Beach Patrol extended guarded beaches at the most popular beaches through September, prompting people to say it is all the more reason to keep coming to the resort.
Christina Molina, 36, of Levittown, Pa., brings her three daughters, Gianna, 10, Julianna, 12, and Alaina, 13, down to Ocean City a couple days a week throughout the summer.
On Monday morning the family sat on beach chairs along the water’s edge at Ninth Street beach. Like other bathers, they had their area separated from others to social distance.
“We always do daytrips to Ocean City. It is our favorite place to go. It is so family oriented,” Molina said.
And her daughters all have their favorite places in the resort.
Both Julianna and Alaina said they love the Boardwalk and shopping.
“I like the beach,” exclaimed Gianna.
For other families, like Dione and Rion Johnson, of Palmyra, this was their first trip down for the summer, with their children, Kamryn, 2, Cru, 8, and 14-year-old daughter, Kendra and her friend Bryce Bastien, of Cinnaminson.
The family chose to stay away from crowds because of COVID-19 restrictions. Their children return to school Tuesday, but it is all virtual school, Dion noted.
“The kids were pent up for the summer. We brought our masks and we are social distancing,” Dione said.
“We wanted to get them out to enjoy the beach for Labor Day,” Rion added. “Since they start school tomorrow, we wanted them to enjoy a day at the beach.”
Lauren and Matthew Little, of Bucks County, Pa., walked the boards toting their sons, Rory, 1, and 2-year-old Matthew, who sipped on a cool drink.
The couple visits Matthew’s parents who have a home in Ocean City on the weekends when they can.
“We go boating, the Boardwalk, the beach,” Matthew said. “Ocean City is a nice, safe place.”
Lauren echoed her husband’s sentiment and added that in the pandemic, Ocean City is a stress-free fun environment.
She said, “It is a nice place to get away to.”