NEW JERSEY - The three-day Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer as most teachers and students head back to school on the days following the federal holiday. This Labor Day weekend, many Garden State schools have already started classes on September 1. Like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Labor Day during the coronavirus pandemic looks and feels a lot different. Labor Day dates all the way back to the late 1800s and began as a way to recognize the contribution of America's workers. The holiday was born from the labor movement which fought to bring proper working conditions, hours and pay to the nation's growing workforce.
Today Labor Day weekend is often synonymous with a trip down the shore or to the nearest mall to take advantage of sales. However, Labor Day 2020 many still have a few of the same traditions, but with an adapted look. For folks searching for something to do for this last unofficial weekend of summer, here's a peek with what's happening for Labor Day weekend 2020.
New Jersey malls like Woodbridge Center, Quaker Bridge and Menlo Park Mall have been open for business since the end of June. Shoppers must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines and many malls like Brunswick Square Mall in East Brunswick are open for fewer hours so take a minute to check websites to see what the new hours are. Most major retailers are open for business as usual on Labor Day weekend including Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Lowe's and Home Depot. Costco will be closed on Labor Day. Supermarkets will be open if you still need to shop for a picnic or barbeque, but hours may differ on Labor Day.
Head to the Beach
Who doesn't want one more beach day before summer is over? However, a trip to the beach during this coronavirus summer involves a little preplanning. Most beaches like Spring Lake, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park and Belmar require daily badges for people without season passes. Passes typically must be purchased in advance so be sure to check the town's website to see the specifics. Many towns like Avon-by-the-Sea offer daily badge purchases on the app Viply while others like Spring Lake ask beach goers to purchase daily badges on Community Pass. Most towns are limiting the number of daily badges sold.
Indoor dining is finally back in NJ. Diners haven't been able to go eat inside their favorite restaurants since March. Of course, indoor dining will look a lot different. Restaurants are only allowed to have a 25 percent capacity with indoor dining. Servers and diners must wear masks. Diners must keep their masks on until the food is served. Tables also must be places six-feet apart. Many restaurants will continue to offer their outdoor seating as well.
Catch a Movie
Seeing a movie is usually a Labor Day thing-to-do in New Jersey and movie theaters have been allowed to reopen just in time for the three-day summer weekend. However, many movie releases have been pushed back by studios since many states have not allowed movie goers back inside theaters. Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" is the big release this weekend for movie theaters. Movie goers must wear masks while in the theater and can only sit next to people they purchased tickets with. Before heading out to a favorite theater, check their website to see if they are up and running. For people preferring not to see a movie in-person just yet, Disney Plus will be streaming "Mulan," but watching it will cost subscribers a one-time fee of $29.99. If you'd rather see a drive-in movie, Bell Works in Holmdel is hosting outdoor movies this weekend. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be done online.
Hit the Trails
Parks have been open in NJ for a while now and this weekend is a great time to take advantage of one of the many hiking and biking trails in the Garden State. The Henry Hudson Bike Trail is a 22.5 trail that runs between Freehold and the Highlands. The trail has different segments for those not quite ready to undertake the entire 20-plus mile trek. Information on the Henry Hudson Trail can be found online. The Delaware Raritan Canal Trail is 77-miles long and is a great spot for hikers and bikers. There is trail access along different points. New Jersey has four National Parks and Labor Day weekend is ideal to check one of them out. Take a look at the park's website for its coronavirus guidelines before heading out.
The Labor Day weekend forecast is a beauty. Kayaking is a fun way to spend an afternoon. The Oceanport Paddle Club offers kayaking and paddleboarding along the picturesque Husky Brook and Parkers Creek. Both feed into the Shrewsbury River. Kayaks, paddleboards and paddles are cleaned after each use. Reservations can be made online.
Liberty Science Center
This hands-on museum in Jersey City reopens on Labor Day weekend with limited capacity. Masks must be worn and visitors will have to have their temperatures checked before entering. Tickets must be purchased online. Hand sanitizer will be readily available for visitors throughout the museum.