(Feb. 5, 2021) In a sign of optimism that the crippling economic effects of the pandemic will begin to wane as the summer approaches, the Ocean City Council on Monday agreed that the Boardwalk trams should resume operations for Memorial Day Weekend.
Once those wheels start turning, it will be the first time in a year that the popular summertime conveyance has rolled along the boards, following its shutdown for all of 2020 because of covid-19.
Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan told the council the decision had been discussed during the Transportation Committee meeting on Jan. 12.
“We do have a recommendation from the Transportation Committee to go ahead and resume the operation of the Boardwalk trams beginning the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend,” he said.
Meehan said when tram service gets back on the circuit on May 28, coronavirus limitations will probably still be in place.
“We can have deployments of up to eight trams at any given time,” he said.
For now, the return of tramcars on the Boardwalk is slated to be in limited capacity with masks mandatory.
Council President Matt James asked if the inclusion of a ridership mask mandate was premature at this time.
“What if things change?” he said. “If we’ve got a mandate on the Boardwalk to keep your mask on that’s one thing.”
Meehan said the requirement could be revisited.
“Right now that is part of the motion,” he said. “That’s a moving target [and] if something changes that can come back.”
Councilman Mark Paddack said masks are mandated under current state guidance.
“Right now the governor requires it on all mass transportation in the state of Maryland,” he said. “That could change between now and May 28.”
Councilman Tony DeLuca said comparable guidance was just issued at the federal level.
“This week the CDC also recommended it because some states weren’t following it,” he said.
The Transportation Committee also recommended, in addition to having passengers don face coverings, reducing tram seating by up to 16 spots to encourage social distancing.
The council voted 6-0, with Councilman Lloyd Martin absent, to begin Boardwalk tram service on May 28.