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The salty sea breeze blows through the air; excited screams echo as the roller coaster drops; the warm, sugary scent of funnel cake lingers on the boardwalk. Summer is here at the shore, but with a few modifications to follow CDC guidelines. Photographer Gabby Jones set out to the Jersey Shore during the Fourth of July weekend, finding some large differences between towns as the state’s reopening was in full swing.
Since July 2, outdoor amusement parks, outdoor waterparks, playgrounds, and libraries have been allowed to reopen. But with big crowds flocking to the shore to the enjoy the holiday weekend, some towns did better than others to enforce social distancing rules, Jones tells Fortune.
“Towns which were an hour driving distance from each other felt like polar opposites,” Jones, a New Jersey native, says.
Many beach towns along the coast are figuring out what the new normal will be when customers return. While Ocean City officials handed out goody bags to families wearing masks, Jones described the vast majority of visitors at Wildwood not wearing masks at all. But she did see roller coaster riders following social distancing rules for seating.
“Some people wore masks. The vast majority are not. It’s just how it is, and it’s people’s attitudes,” Jones says.
Atlantic City opened its casinos limiting occupancy to 25% capacity and requiring all staff and visitors to wear masks. By July 16, all table games will have Plexiglas or glass barriers installed between the dealer or game operator and guests.
Her images aren’t just about masks. Jones grew up going to the Jersey Shore for summer vacations and felt drawn to document what vacationing there looks like in today’s world.
“When people act surprised or act like it’s not a problem and just go ahead with everything, I hope people can come to terms and realize that it is a problem and it does matter,” she says. “If people are already set in their ways, I don’t know how much these images will change their mind. But if anything, maybe it’s just reinforcing what a lot of us already know and are aware of just on a larger scale.”
Scroll below to see Gabby Jones’ images. Check out her Instagram here.
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