The New Jersey township of Toms River announced Tuesday that it would extend its curfew in barrier island beach communities through the end of September.
In a statement, Mayor Mariuce "Mo" Hill said the administration was responding to complaints from residents of those communities about "unruly behavior of juveniles during the Memorial Day weekend" by reinstating a curfew for youths 17 and younger that was in effect the previous two summers.
The curfew began Monday and extends to Sept. 30, prohibiting those minors to be outdoors unaccompanied by a parent or guardian in North Beach and Ortley Beach from 11 p.m. through 5 a.m.
There are exceptions for medical emergencies, travel to and from jobs, travel to and from religious or education functions and travel to and from a private gathering.
The township said juveniles may also perform errands or legitimate business if instructed to do so by a parent or guardian.
The 2020 and 2021 proclamations did not include Ortley Beach. The 2020 curfew began at 9 p.m., and the 2021 curfew started at 10 p.m.
Those in violation of the curfew could be charged with a disorderly person’s offense and subject to penalties imposed by the Toms River Municipal Court.
"The curfews worked well in 2020 and 2021," Mayor Hill said in a statement. "We had few if any disturbances during those seasons, and we do not want a repeat of what happened during the Memorial Day weekend this year. With the threat of ‘pop-up’ parties being promoted on social media, we need to give our police officers the authority to maintain the peace in our family-friendly beach communities."
Police Chief Mitch Little said the goal of the curfew was to address destructive behavior on public and private property with large groups of youths.
"It is our responsibility to preserve the quality of life in our beach communities for everyone," he said.
According to WNBC, the curfew in New Jersey's Brick Township is an hour earlier, and Ocean City also has a 10 p.m. curfew.
Toms River is just one of several towns along the Jersey Shore where local officials have decided to enforce curfews over concerns of unruly crowds. At least 300 teenagers gathered in Long Beach Island over the Fourth of July weekend. Long Branch decided to cancel its fireworks show after hundreds gathered for what officials called an out-of-control party on the beach.