Virtual map lets Somerset County residents know which businesses are now open

Somerset County is now open for business and a new virtual map is letting residents know how, and in what capacity, local businesses are operating.
From Lobster Alley and El Patio Barbershop in Raritan to Turf Surf and Earth in Somerville, they are all on the new “Open for Business” map – a virtual link to many businesses around the county.
“Instead of going to 15 different websites, you can just go to our website,” says Somerset County Freeholder Shanel Robinson.
Robins says that just by clicking on a name or category, “People have an understanding of what’s open, when they open and how they’re open. Or how they’re delivering services and products.”
The map is also helping to get the word out about the businesses – which is important for places like Lobster Alley, which underwent a major reinvention because of the pandemic.
“This business was a super busy private school catering company,” says owner Rebecca Hassouna.
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But until schools reopen, it is now something different.
“We fly fresh lobster ever week from Maine and we make lobster rolls” she says.
Hassouna and her husband, who is working the kitchen, say they made a risky decision, which has paid off.
“He said, ‘You can’t get lobster roll around here and you can’t go to Maine anymore. You can’t go to the beach, so we will bring it here.’” Hassouna says.
Wednesday was Lobster Alley’s biggest day, with 300 lobster rolls sold. The changeover has stuck and the new map offers by the county could ensure that Lobster Alley stays on the map as a staple in Somerset County.
The Open for Business website has just gone live with 86 businesses. Officials say that the hope is to get as many of the 10,000 Somerset County businesses on board as possible.