Poor air quality is affecting businesses at the Jersey Shore as badge sales plummet

Badge sales at Jersey Shore beaches are down so far this summer due to poor air quality concerns.

Lanette Espy and Jim Murdoch

Jul 18, 2023, 11:16 AM

Updated 334 days ago

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New Jersey is experiencing another day of haze and smoke – an air quality alert was issued Monday until 1 p.m. Tuesday due to moderate levels of pollution.
The smoke emitting from the Canadian wildfires are also affecting businesses at the Jersey Shore this summer as less people head to the beach due to poor air quality concerns.
From May to July 2, daily badge sales were down by 26% over 2022. The overall badge revenue was down 13% over 2022. Badge sales are also down in surrounding areas as well. In Seaside Heights, News 12 New Jersey learned badge sales were down as much as 30% in sales from where they were during this month in 2022.
Amy Russo of Toast, a restaurant in Asbury Park, believes the poor quality is affecting business at the Shore.
“I have never heard of AQI in 52 years of living. Now it's common knowledge and people are talking about that as the reason why they're not leaving their house. Like people need another reason to stay inside. It's because of the AQI,” Russo said.
Russo says she's down 5% week after week compared to the numbers in 2022. She says it's a combination of factors, including air quality, inflation, and residents misinterpreting weather forecasts.
However, Sheryl Goldstein, of Long Branch, says she hasn't noticed much of a difference when she's at the beach and says everyone is becoming so used to AQI alerts this summer.
“I think we all pay attention, and we are all very concerned about it. I was in New York City the day that it was like the worst day ever, but I think we are starting to feel like is this our new normal."
Brian Schneider, of Ocean Township, says, “I noticed not a lot of people have been traveling down here. We have seen a bit of a decline in a lot of the restaurants. A lot of them closed early part of the week."
Although levels are not expected to come anywhere close to the day the sky turned orange in early June, moderate can affect the very young and elderly. Air quality in the moderate category can also affect sensitive individuals, including those with heart or lung disease. People in these groups are urged to limit strenuous activities and the amount of time active outdoors.


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