The 2021 Margate Polar Bear Plunge was canceled Thursday. Robert's Place, the local watering hole which has been the host of the Margate plunge for many years made the decision official in a post on social media, saying their priority was the health of their customers and staff.

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The plunge is a 26-year Margate tradition on New Year's Day, a fun and bone-chilling way to ring in the New Year with a quick run into the ocean. The event customarily begns with a gathering at Robert’s Place on Atlantic Ave., where doors open at  8 am.

Then, a little before noon, everyone participating in the Polar Bear Plunge makes their way out to the beach. At 12pm, where they strip down to a bathing suit or costume of some kind and runs into the icy cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Margate's Polar Bear Plunge had grown in popularity over the last few years, to the point where the city began to let people park their cars on the beach to accommodate a crowd of about two thousand, many of whom drove in from out-of-town for the event.

The crowd, of course, is the problem this year, with Covid-19 cases spiking in South Jersey and across the country.

Roberts Place message concerning the plunge cancellation on social media took a positive, look ahead to better days approach.

Stay safe, everyone! We'll take the plunge again on January 1, 2022

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