Ice cream trucks are back in New Jersey, and there’s more of them to come. This season, however, gloves, masks and a series of social distancing measures are on the menu along with the usual goodies.

Mohammad, of Mohammad Good Humor Ice Cream, said he hasn’t hit the road yet, but he is preparing for when he does. The ice cream purveyor in Union County said he has affixed signs to his truck requesting that customers keep 6 feet apart and be served “one family at a time.”

“We have masks. We have gloves. We have sanitizers,” said Mohammad, a frequent visitor to Westfield, who prefers to go by his first name.

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He is not alone with his thoughts on social distance and ice cream.

Warm weather last week brought out ice cream trucks, prompting residents to question Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle.

“The state allows them to operate, but their employees should be wearing masks and gloves,” Brindle answered in a COVID-19 update. “I’d also encourage anyone making a purchase to please wear a mask as well and avoid congregating within 6 feet of others who are also waiting to be served.”

Jim Conway Jr., vice president of Mister Softee, told NJ Flavor his franchises across the state are up and running — albeit with safety precautions in place.

These include taking employees’ temperatures, placing signs outside and inside of trucks, reminding customers of the need for social distancing and having masks made specifically for the franchise operators, Conway said. The franchises also are sanitizing both the inside and outside of trucks, the company says in a video.

“We have advised our franchisees in New Jersey and throughout the country that before they begin operating, they should contact their local health department and local towns where they conduct business to make sure that everybody’s on the same page,” Conway told NJ Flavor.

In Little Falls, Jed Hersch, the manager of the ice cream shop Sip ‘n Swirl, has primarily been using an antique truck to deliver groceries, such as milk.

The truck, Hersch said, is also available to deliver ice cream for events such as drive-by birthday parties at which his company offers no-contact delivery. 

“They book the truck it just sits there for the drive by party … for 15 minutes, and while it’s there, we deliver ice cream,” Hersch said. “It’s a contact-free delivery.”

Ice Cream for a Cause

In Belleville, Mike Perrone, president of the local historical society, has made it a summer tradition to dress in an old-fashioned all-white uniform and dole out ice cream from an historic Good Humor tricycle that can hold up to 300 ice cream treats.

If all goes to plan, Perrone said, he’s hoping to get out to some area parks this weekend and give out ice cream in exchange for donations to 1st Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey, a Belleville-based school that assists students with special needs.

“We could set up a little portable table one side of the bike,” said Perrone, who noted that he already has masks and gloves. “That would give us 6 feet. We could get one of those light, thin tables.”

Cones for Scoops

In Monmouth County, David Hirschel, the owner of Igloo Italian Ice & Ice Cream based in Oakhurst doesn’t plan to start up his ice cream truck until next month. But he’s still considering what he’ll have to do to get it operating.

Hirschel said he typically sets up his truck at parties and may be visiting car dealerships this summer. He admits maintaining social distancing could be a challenge.

“With a bunch of kids, the first thing they do when they see the truck is they make a beeline for it,” Hirschel said.

The solution? “We’re trying to find ways of going about it: maybe putting cones up to make sure only one person can go to it at a time,” he added.

What does an ice cream seller do if customers are not abiding by social distancing? Conway, of Mister Softee, has been advising his franchisees as follows.

“We’ve told them that they need to be mindful, and if the customers are not practicing social distance just to inform the customers that if you’re not going to practice social distance, we can’t serve you,” he said. “That usually takes care of things.”

Email Matt Kadosh at | Twitter: @Matt Kadosh    

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