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    Wildwood bans backpacks on NJ beach, boardwalk after chaotic start to season


    The city of Wildwood introduced a new policy that bans the use of backpacks on the beach and boardwalk.

    City leaders unanimously passed the ban on Wednesday.

    The emergency ordinance, which went into effect immediately, prohibits backpacks on the beaches and boardwalk from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

    There is an exception for baby bags, medical bags and small purses.

    Ocean City implemented a similar ban on its boardwalk last year.

    "It's important to let everybody know Wildwood is not going to sit back and let this rowdiness continue," said Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr.

    Officials in Wildwood have already dealt with a chaotic start to summer after rowdy groups of teens on the boardwalk forced the resort to declare a state of emergency over Memorial Day Weekend, shutting down the boardwalk for hours.

    RELATED: Jersey Shore ready for beach season | What to know before you go

    Residents in the area are hopeful this ban will curb the disorderly behavior.

    "I'm seeing that it does have some good intentions behind it. I hope it is a smooth ride," said Joseph Toland, owner of Old Time Photo Studio in Wildwood.

    City leaders hope that the ban prevents teens from sneaking alcohol or guns into the area, however, some people remain skeptical about how police will enforce this bag ban.

    Action News has been told people will be warned first, then escorted to an exit ramp by authorities.

    The new policy follows an earlier curfew that was instituted in the spring.

    "Between the curfew regulation and this new backpack ban, it's going to help with that," noted Wildwood Police Chief Joseph Murphy.

    Troiano is also calling for more officers and help from the state to control the chaos.

    "I would love for the state to sit down with our police departments and say, 'How can we help you?'" he said.

    Earlier Wednesday, an independent hearing of state police chiefs and Republican lawmakers was held via Zoom to discuss shore safety concerns.

    They suggested that parents should be held civilly or criminally responsible for the actions of their children that create disturbances or damage in public places.

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