WORCESTER CO., Md.- The Ocean City MD Hotel Motel Restaurant Association says about 12,000 seasonal workers are needed each summer.

About 4,000 J-1 Visa students fulfill well over half of those jobs with many of them working two jobs.

COVID-19 travel restrictions around the world combined with the Trump Administration’s decision to extend the travel bans put in place at the beginning of his presidency made for a tough 2020 for many Ocean City businesses.

“I worked a lot more last year than I want to work and a lot more last year than in the last 5-10 years,” said Stephan Pastusak, Vice President of Bay Shore Development which owns Jolly Roger Amusement.

The program that began as a cultural exchange was challenged by the Trump administration when travel bans were issued at the beginning of his administration.

Those connected to the program in Ocean City are calling on the soon-to-be Biden administration to extend it, signing a petition set to be sent out January 13.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director says if all goes well with recruitment efforts, she’s optimistic about the 2021 tourism season.

“We expect that summer 2021 we will indeed be able to host a full complement of the j-1 cultural exchange as we did in the past. We are not expecting any obstacles relative to that,” said Lachelle Scarlato.