O.C. Merchants Use Business Savvy Amid COVID-19

first_imgBoardwalk businesses such as Manco & Manco Pizza at Ninth Street are making a bad situation work with everything from curbside pickup to online ordering. (Photo courtesy Manco and Manco’s Facebook page) By MADDY VITALEWhen Gov. Phil Murphy closed nonessential businesses last week in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, life as we know it stopped.On Wednesday, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian announced that the beaches and Boardwalk would be closed to the public until further notice due to COVID-19.Social distancing, washing your hands, and avoiding gathering are the current norm in this abnormal situation.So, what becomes of the business community in “America’s Greatest Family Resort?”Well, it means changing the way to do business – and it is a hope for the community that by the start of the summer season in May that COVID-19 will be under control and the beaches and Boardwalk will be the perfect escapes from a scary time in history.Bill McGinnity, president of the Ocean City Restaurant Association, which represents 15 eateries, said that many of the restaurants are offering curbside pickup and delivery.McGinnity, owner of Cousin’s Restaurant, at 104 Asbury Ave., is offering takeout with curbside pickup, where you don’t even leave your car. Manco & Manco Pizza is offering parking lot pickup and delivery.“I’m doing a lot of family-style entrees, so people can have food for a few days at a time and be able to warm it up again,” McGinnity noted.Last weekend was Cousin’s first try at the driveup service Thursdays through Saturdays for now and he said it went well.“We did it last weekend for the first time and actually today again through Saturday. Three days a week like that, I can survive. By now, though, I would typically have been doing the dining right now,” McGinnity explained.But, he said, if everyone heeds the mayor’s edict, and adhere to other ways to minimize risk of exposure to the coronavirus, then there is hope for a good future.“Two weeks in March is a different story than two weeks in May. We all dealt with (Hurricane) Sandy. I think we should be OK,” McGinnity added.Restaurants such as Cousin’s are offering curbside pickup to patrons until dining is allowed to reopen. (Photo courtesy Cousin’s Facebook page)Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, said businesses are making a difficult situation work in order to continue to provide for the customers and survive.“It’s so nice to see so many family owned businesses open and doing takeout, curbside and online orders,” she said. “Our restaurants, bakeries, and other establishments have stepped up safety measures and are serving their community.”Gillian emphasized that the community must come together in this trying time to make it work.“We ask you to support these businesses by downloading the OC app, go to our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram and go to oceancityvacation.com for a list of business listings that are participating,” she said.Gillian continued, “Ocean City is a unique place to live. We know with the support of the community we will move forward to better times.”Jody Levchuk, who owns Jilly’s Boardwalk shops in Ocean City along with his family, said he is still going to work in his shops every day. He is working solo for eight to 10 hours. He still does have employees, but everyone is working at a safe distance from each other, he said.He added that because he did not want to lay people off, he is going by the very important rules of social distancing and that employees are to report any sign that they are feeling sick.“I’m going in and making calls and doing orders,” Levchuk said. “I need to be in my office to do those things.”Levchuk said the best thing consumers can do to help out their favorite temporarily shuttered businesses is to order online everything from products to gift cards.“Online sales help supplement brick and mortar businesses and in a case like this, it can only help,” Levchuk said. “Go online. Buy the gift cards, order your food. Help sustain the businesses a bit until we could reopen.”His business forecast was similar to McGinnity’s outlook and Michele Gillian’s perspective.“Most people will be OK reopening by, say, Memorial Day weekend,” he said, adding that some of the Boardwalk shops routinely don’t open until the start of the summer season.He noted that he agrees with the mayor that closing the Boardwalk and beaches to the public was the right thing to do in the wake of the outbreak.“People gathering is just not a good thing in a time like this,” he said. Jilly’s T-Shirt Factory at 1048 Boardwalk focuses on online orders while the coronavirus crisis continues.last_img read more