School’s Out, Summer’s In Along With New Laws That Hinder Fun

Commentary By: Morgan Reitzel, Follow South Jersey Intern

Ocean City Music Pier. Photo credit: Ocean City Facebook page.

With the weather no longer cold and frigid in New Jersey, tourists and residents are ready to shed their winter coats for bathing suits and have fun at the beach. Yet, some new restricting rules are being put in place that may hinder the fun. 

Starting March 28, Sea Isle city is banning bags larger than 8 in. by 6 in. for everyone between the hours of 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. from May 15 to Sept. 15. It’s understandable that city officials want to stop underage drinking and vandalism, but teenagers are always going to find a way around the law. News flash police: a water bottle of vodka is going to fit into a tiny bag.

If you are caught breaking the bag rule on the promenade, beach, or beachside streets you will be fined $25-100 if you are an adult and given two warnings if you are a minor. It’s reasonable that people shouldn’t bring illegal substances to a beach, but now you want to fine people for having a large bag in the middle of the night? 

It is important to note that this rule does not apply to people carrying medical devices, equipment for journalists, or fishing supplies. 

A curfew for minors is also being implicated. The new rules state that minors can not be in public spaces between 10pm and 6am from May 15 – Sept. 15. Again, it’s not a crazy notion that city officials don’t want damage to their town, but are people going to stop minors on the street and ask for their ID? Probably not, because it would be a waste of police resources to roll down their window and ask a group of young people where they are going at 10:30 being creepy. City officials saw that they are trying to stop teens from being in large groups at night but this sounds WAY too controlling. 

The penalty? Two warnings and then after the two warnings they have to be picked up at the police station by their parents. Shockingly, the police are threatening parents that they can be fined up to $1,500 for knowing their children are out hanging with their friends after 10 p.m. in the summer, with no school the next day, and no real life responsibilities. I’m sure this is a great use of our police force. 

Ocean City officials are now planning to close the town’s beaches at 8 p.m., have the bathrooms on the boardwalks be closed at 10 p.m., and the curfew for minors have been moved from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. due to the 999 incidents over Memorial Day weekend. These incidents included assaults, shoplifting, confiscation of a gun, underage drinking, and vandalism. Mayor Jay A. Gillian held an emergency meeting of city council on June 1 to discuss the issues at hand. 

Police are now allowed to hold teens who break the law in jail until picked up by a guardian to hold the minors accountable for their actions. It is important to note that this will not affect the minor’s personal record. 

“We want parents, grandparents and families to know that we’re all in this together, and we will be holding people accountable,” said Mayor Jay A. Gillian. “I also want to send a message to our governor and legislators that the laws they forced on all municipalities are a threat to public safety, and they deprive families of the opportunity to enjoy the Jersey Shore.” 

These new laws seem way too controlling and are probably not going to be reinforced. Back when the COVID-19 was at an all time high, Gov. Murphy put in a curfew and there are no records of anyone being penalized for being out past 8 p.m. 

To put it all in perspective, it’s not going to be hard to believe that no one is going to follow these rules because it’s too hard to enforce them and they are controlling our society. 

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