Summer 2021 is creeping up on us. How different will it be from the last?

In Part 1 of our multi-day series on summer at the Jersey Shore during COVID-19 recovery, it's evident that plenty of Garden State residents are itching to at least pretend we're out of the woods.

"I'm looking forward to really relaxing this summer and enjoying the beach without the doom and gloom of what's going to happen in the fall and the winter, and the second wave and the third wave," a Middletown resident told New Jersey 101.5 while enjoying the view from a boardwalk bench in Asbury Park.

Her friend Diane is loving the prospect of visiting beaches, parks and amusement centers without needing to wear a mask.

"Now I think with more people being vaccinated, we'll feel safer," Diane said.

Summer Fun in the Sun — Join Eric Scott 7 p.m. Thursday to hear from Jersey Shore mayors, representatives from the state’s biggest outdoor attractions as well as a panel of health and business experts in a special town hall about what the summer season will look like in New Jersey this year. Watch live at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 13 edited its guidance to say that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a face covering or socially distance while indoors or outdoors. The next day, Gov. Phil Murphy's office told New Jersey 101.5 that the governor and the health department are reviewing the recommendations.

Barbara Rachbuch, of Monroe, hardly left her home during the summer months of 2020. Now, fully vaccinated, the senior citizen expects to enjoy life much more in summer 2021, but she still expects people to be respectful of others, considering the lingering health crisis.

"You can't just assume that it's gone, it's here," she said.

Robert B., a resident of Edison, believes that people since last March, when the pandemic first took hold of New Jersey, should have been able to enjoy what they wanted when they wanted, instead of being urged to stay indoors or forced to shield their faces.

"If you're well enough and you're confident with your health, I really think you should live your life as you were living it in 2018, 2019," Robert said.

Strolling the boardwalk, Robert was happy to see what looked like a perfectly normal mid-May day at the shore, crowd-wise.

Cranford resident Susan Haustein said she can sense a positive vibe among strangers who are out and about — a vibe she didn't get pre-COVID.

"It's like everybody is so excited about talking to a face," Haustein said. "Sharing stories and being a part of everyday life, we took all those things for granted. We're going to celebrate the little nuances, the baby things."

On day two of this series, New Jersey 101.5 speaks with shore businesses that are already getting the sense that summer 2021 will be a big one.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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