Ocean City prepares for 4th of July weekend
OCEAN CITY, Md. – The 4th of July is typically one of the busiest holidays for Ocean City. One of the biggest attractions during this holiday is typically the fireworks. This year, visitors will have to do without them. “Everything in 2020 seems to be a little more difficult because of all the COVID stuff going on, and we’re seeing that as we prepare for the 4th of July weekend. We did cancel the fireworks, which was the right thing to do under the circumstances,” said Mayor Rick Meehan.
Ocean City gears up for this weekend, business owners say the focus is on encouraging people visiting to be safe and courteous towards others. “There’s going to be wait times. There’s going to be long lines. The food might take a little longer to get out. So, we want everybody to just chill. We’re at the beach – relax. Pack your patience,” said executive director of the Ocean City Hotel Motel and Restaurant Association Susan Jones.
Jones says most restaurants are going to be operating at 50% capacity. She says people should remember to be patient, and that there’s plenty of activities to go around. “There’s still amusement parks. There’s golf. There’s plenty of things to do even though we don’t have the fireworks,” said Jones.
Jones says the Ocean City Hotel Motel and Restaurant Association has been working to provide signage about social distancing and masks to businesses. “Everybody is just really tired of fighting with people trying to tell them to practice social distancing. Everyone has signage all around them to remain six feet apart,” said Jones.
At Bull on the Beach at 93rd street, owner Phil Houck says he’s anticipating a busy weekend – even without the fireworks. “It’ll probably still be pretty good. I think the town’s really positive now. I think all the visitors are starting to come down again. We’ve got the cleanest beach on the East Coast,” said Houck.
Houck says operating at 50% capacity might even work out to his restaurant’s advantage when it comes to keeping a steady pace through the weekend. “With 50% seating inside, we’re all short on employees. So right now it’s about what we can handle and it’s perfect,” said Houck.
Meanwhile at City Hall – Mayor Meehan says people should expect a high level of police presence in town over the weekend. “I think we’re going to see that consistently now that we’re in the summer season. We want to make sure everybody feel safe so they can enjoy their time while they’re here,” said Mayor Meehan.
Mayor Meehan says in order for this year’s July 4th holiday to be safe and successful, he hopes people will remember to wear their masks and social distance. “Remember to do the same things you were doing at home. Don’t forget – we’re not a COVID-free zone. This is somewhere where we want everybody to make sure that they’re maintaining social distancing, wearing masks,” said Mayor Meehan.
The Mayor tells 47ABC that the fireworks are postponed – and folks visiting Ocean City can probably expect the fireworks to take place possibly in the fall.