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June 12, 2024

Wildwood bans backpacks on beaches and boardwalk at night

The city's board of commissioners passed the ordinance in an effort to combat unruly behavior at the shore.

Government Wildwood
Wildwood backpack ban Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The Wildwood Board of Commissioners has passed an ordinance that prohibits backpacks on the beach and boardwalk from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Update, June 13: Wildwood's board of commissioners has passed an ordinance that bans backpacks on its boardwalk and beaches from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. between May 1 to Sept. 30. It is effective immediately. The original story follows. 

Wildwood hopes to curtail rowdy behavior on its beaches and boardwalk, with the latest effort being a measure to prohibit people from carrying backpacks.

The city's board of commissioners is set to introduce an ordinance banning backpacks in a meeting Wednesday evening. The proposed ban would go into effect from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Officials say teens have been carrying alcohol and other illegal items in backpacks, contributing to unruly and chaotic activity.

MORE: Wildwood: Everything you need to know about the beaches and things to do there this summer

Under a ban, anyone with backpacks on the beach or boardwalk during that time would receive two warnings before being escorted to an exit ramp by authorities. The ordinance also includes an amendment for penalties to minors who violate curfew.

After being introduced, the ordinance will be published and presented in a public hearing before approval. 

Other ordinances on Wednesday's agenda include the presence of animals on the boardwalk, businesses that sell electronic smoking devices and parking spaces for people with disabilities.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Wildwood declared a state of emergency due to "civil unrest" and "an irrepressible number of calls for service" regarding a large number of young adults and juveniles in the area.

Last month, the shore town's neighboring North Wildwood enacted a teen curfew of 10 p.m. to combat disorderly behavior and violence between youths. Last year, Wildwood banned alcohol from beaches and the boardwalk and pushed its teen curfew from 1 a.m. to midnight.

Should the regulation pass, Wildwood would join Sea Isle City and Ocean City as Jersey Shore towns with a ban on backpacks.