With Hurricane Irene hitting so close to the end of summer, New Jersey towns with destroyed and damaged boardwalks, restaurants and other tourist attractions are concerned that travelers won't be coming out for Labor Day.
Roy Werts, owner of Posh Den in Asbury Park, said he's worried that many tourists may call it a season and stay away from his fine gifts shop. "I am concerned that I think a lot of people feel the summer's over, and this weekend is going to be very key to us," Werts said. "A lot of us have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars this last weekend."
After declaring a state of emergency that led to many mandatory evacuations as Hurricane Irene approached the East Coast, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie had a fit of pique over seeing people lounging on the beach in Asbury Park and told them to leave the beach.
But at a news conference Monday night, the governor urged people to get in their cars and go to the Jersey shore for the holiday weekend.
He said that Irene spared New Jersey's beaches. "In many places, there's no beach erosion at all," he said. "And even in places there are, it's just minor."
Ryan Jimenez, owner of Hotel Tides in Asbury Park, said his luxury hotel and spa was still without electricity. He was hopeful Jersey Central Power and Light would restore utilities by Thursday.
"I have complete faith in JCP&L," Jimenez said. "I think they've done a wonderful job, so I'm just keeping my fingers cross and hopefully this will be a great weekend for us and the people who down to the Jersey shore."
Elected officials and public works crews were working furiously to get the resorts back into shape. Utilities were also asking New Jersey residents and businesses who lost electricity to be patient.