A New Jersey beach town will start a late-night backpack ban and youth curfew starting today (May 15), NJ.com reports. Sea Isle City has a new ordinance into effect starting Monday (May 15) until Sept. 15. Beachgoers and visitors alike will not be able to wear backpacks from 10 pm through 1 am.
A second ordinance is targeted at those under 17 years of age. The youth curfew will take effect next week, which applies to the beach and the entire city. The curfew for those under 17 will be from 10 pm to 6 am.
Mayor Leonard Desiderio told NJ.com that police are not trying to “hassle residents or the thousands of visitors that descend on the Cape May County community each summer.”
“Both these ordinances are very, very benign,” Desiderio told the outlet Friday (May 12). “We do not want to give anyone a record. We’re not looking for any problems. We’re not going to harass anyone. This is just a tool that the police have. We hope we don’t have to use it.”
Both of the new ordinances are designed to limit large crowds and to keep the peace, according to the mayor. As for the backpack ban, “anyone with a bag larger than 8 inches by 6 inches by 8 inches will receive two warnings before being issued a fine that starts at $25.” There are exceptions to the ban include equipment for journalists, fisherman, and police as well as medical devices are not to be affected by this new rule.
The mayor says that the backpack ban is for the safety of the public as trends show that “nothing good” is ever found in the backpacks.
“We found there’s nothing good in those backpacks, especially late at night,” Desiderio said. “(Teens sometimes) have alcohol and other substances in there. Sometimes there have been weapons — not necessarily guns — but brass knuckles and things like that. We just decided after a certain hour on our promenade you can’t have a backpack. So that’s what we’re doing.”
Teens are welcome to attend city-sponsored events that will end after 10 pm, the mayor said, despite the curfew. Those who are heading home and aren’t doing anything nefarious will not be bothered by law enforcement even if found with backpacks. That applies to both youth and adults.
“They’re not stopping you, they’re not even going to look at you,” Desiderio said.