A coastal New Jersey city unanimously passed an ordinance Thursday banning the possession of alcohol on the beach and the boardwalk ahead of the summer season.
The Jersey Shore City of Wildwood is known for its Fourth of July fireworks and beachfront attractions, including amusement piers with more than 100 rides and attractions.
In a release, the city said Mayor Pete Byron, Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons and Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Mikulski introduced the stricter legislation in a May 10 Wildwood Commissioners meeting.
“Alcohol of any kind has always been prohibited on the beach and boardwalk. In fact, there is already a sign at every street entrance to the beach. This new ordinance not only prohibits the drinking and/or open display of alcohol, but also says the mere existence of any kind of alcohol is prohibited,” Byron said in a statement.
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City Solicitor Louis DeLollis highlighted that such ordinances mirror those from other shore towns, which also seek to crack down on the matter of possession on the beach and boardwalk.
Violators could face fines of up to $2,000 and potentially 90 days in jail, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, citing Byron. The paper said first offenders would likely be warned and asked to either discard the alcohol or return it to a car, hotel or dwelling.
“Every year, the city receives numerous complaints about drinking, marijuana use and smoking on the beach and boardwalk. This is how we are responding to those complaints,” said Fitzsimons.
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However, some social media users lamented the action, with Twitter users booing the move, and one even calling it “evil.”
Some pointed out that while alcohol would be banned on the beach and boardwalks, there are bars located on the boardwalk.
Designated restaurants or permitted events on the beach and boardwalk are the only exceptions to the ordinance.
“This is a matter of public safety. We understand people are on vacation and want to have a good time,” Mikulski said. “We want everyone to enjoy Wildwood. Drinking, especially in the sun on vacation, often leads to excess and unruly behavior, not to mention increased health risks.”
The Commissioners also voted to approve a Breach of Peace ordinance to help police crack down on juvenile curfew violations, excessive noise, littering, vandalism, setting off illegal fireworks and riding bikes on the boardwalk after hours, among other complaints.
Ocean City was reportedly the first in Cape May County to enact such an ordinance in January, according to NBC Philadelphia.