CAPE MAY, NJ – Daniel Hume, a decorated combat veteran who served 5 1/2 years in the United States Marine Corps today says police showed up at his popular Sunset Beach Gift Shop and told him to shut it down. Hume said his business had been shut down since the COVID-19 pandemic began as he and his family reconfigured their store to serve the community with essential items needed by local families during the COVID-19 pandemic. For years, the gift shop adjacent to one of America’s most beautiful sunset beaches was a must-see sight for anyone visiting Cape May.
Now, he says police told him if he opens Sunday morning, he’ll be arrested. Visit Sunset Beach Gift Shop and show your support!
“Tonight my family and I were threatened with arrest if we opened our store, Sunset Beach Gifts, in Cape May County,” Hume said. “We have reconfigured our store, widened aisles, installed plexiglass barriers at checkouts, and roughly 30% of our store is now food and essential items (face masks, clothes, hand sanitizer, and soap).”
This week, Governor Phil Murphy announced that non-essential retail stores can reopen for curbside pickup, but Hume contends his newly reopened store is no longer just a gift shop, but over 30% of the items in stock are now food and essential items. The family also operates the nearby beachside eatery, also a very popular evening snack bar for those going to enjoy the beautiful sunset.
“Since we still have an eatery that is curbside, we decided to speak with our attorney before reopening our retail store,” he said. “If I did not have children, I would have been willing to go to jail tonight. The Cape May County Prosecutor told our municipal police chief to arrest us tomorrow if we reopen.”
Hume said his family and business are being penalized because they decided to close the past two months while changing their store.
“They said we aren’t essential because we closed March 15th, even though we only closed in order to reconfigure our store in order to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19,” the Marine Corps veteran said. “I am a 5 1/2 year Marine Corps combat veteran with 1/7 Marines and I never truly believed I’d have a police officer threaten me with disorderly conduct for asking why we weren’t essential.”
Every night during the summer months, for years, Hume has hosted a nightly flag ceremony performed by World War II veteran Marvin Hume. On some nights, the ceremony draws hundreds of guests. This year, due to Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order restricting large gatherings, the nightly ceremony, which was to have resumed May 1st has been put on hold until further notice.
Sunset Beach is rich in U.S. military history. Directly off the coast lies the sunken hulk of the SS Atlantis, a World War I “Liberty Ship” that transported American troops to and from the war in Europe. After being decommissioned, it was to be used as a ferry dock at the Cape May-Lewes ferry terminal, but broke free from its moorings on June 18, 1926, before running aground off Sunset Beach. Attempts to free the ship were unsuccessful and today, remnants of the ship (pictured above) are still visible protruding from the water. Down the street from Sunset Beach is one of the last remaining World War II coastal lookout towers that scoured the horizon for Nazi U-boats during the war. It now serves as a museum. If that’s not enough history, around the Cape May Point, lies Battery 223 another World War II American coastal defensive position. Cape May is also home to the United States Coast Guard Training Center, Cape May.
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