by Zenebou Sylla, CNN
(CNN) — Officials in New Jersey are banning the possession of alcohol on a popular beach and boardwalk after city commissioners unanimously passed the “stricter” ordinance.
Introduced during a Board of Commissioners meeting in Wildwood in early May, the 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,” Mayor Pete Byron said in a news release on Thursday.
“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,” he continued.
He told CNN the new ordinance was tweaked to include even the presence of alcohol on the beach and boardwalk in the town, some 40 miles south of Atlantic City.
Revelers over Memorial Day weekend will be spared from enforcement, as the new ordinance doesn’t go into effect until mid-June. The mayor says the ordinance was passed on Wednesday and goes into effect after 20 days.
Those not abiding by the ordinance could walk off with a warning, a fine of up to $2,000 or potentially 90 days in jail, Mayor Byron told CNN.
The ordinance mirrors those in other shore towns, officials say, and seeks to “crack down” on the matter of possession, according to the news release.
It exempts designated restaurants or permitted events on the beach and boardwalk, according to the release.
Wildwood Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons cited the numerous complaints about drinking, marijuana use and smoking on the beach and boardwalk received every year as part of the reason for the new ordinance.
“This is a matter of public safety,” Commissioner of Public Safety Steve Mikulski said in the release. “We understand people are on vacation and want to have a good time,” he 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.”
Wildwood is composed of five separate municipalities consisting of Wildwood, North and West Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and Diamond Beach, according to the Wildwood website.
In the same release, officials say a “breach of peace” ordinance was also approved “to help the 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.”
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