OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Ocean City officials addressed new measures being taken after a "chaotic" Memorial Day weekend.
An earlier curfew and backpack ban will take effect in two weeks if approved by city council.
Effective immediately, beaches will close at 8:00 pm and boardwalk bathrooms will close at 10:00 p.m.
"We had an increase in fights. We had eight juveniles that were unconscious due to alcohol that we had to take to the hospital. We had weapons offenses," explained Ocean City Police Chief Jay Prettyman during a press conference on the boardwalk Thursday afternoon.
He described a chaotic late-night scene from Memorial Day weekend, prompting city officials to take action.
"Kids now are spitting on people," said Mayor Jay Gillian. "They're spitting on cops. We had two people that were doing the bathrooms quit because they were spit on and pushed out of the way."
On Thursday, city council held an emergency meeting to discuss two ordinances that would move the curfew to 11:00 p.m. from 1:00 a.m. and would ban backpacks on the boardwalk after 8:00 p.m.
Under these ordinances, juveniles would be given two warnings before police would call a parent or guardian.
If passed after a second reading in two weeks, these measures will take effect June 15, just ahead of Father's Day weekend, a popular weekend after many schools let out for the year.
"I want to solve what we're dealing with right now, but we all have to do it together," said Gillian.
The chief says state legislation passed in 2021 limited police interactions with juveniles suspected of underage drinking.
"The only legal way we're allowed to address that kid is by giving them a verbal warning," said Prettyman.
He said previously, the threat of losing one's driver's license was an effective law enforcement tool.
Several business owners spoke out during the meeting, including Justice Vollz.
He says something has to be done, referring to the activity over the weekend as "debauchery."
But he does worry about the loss of business after 11:00 p.m. and the earlier bathroom closures, some of which are near his boardwalk stores near 11th Street.
"You run the risk of having your own property vandalized or relieved upon and that is not something we're looking forward to either," said Vollz.
Mayor Gillian also says he plans to introduce an ordinance that would ban e-bikes from being ridden on the boardwalk.
Earlier this week, Governor Phil Murphy's office released this statement on the large gatherings:
"Our office understands that large-scale youth gatherings have raised public safety concerns over the past few years. In order to ensure that the safe enjoyment of the Jersey Shore is available to every family and resident, this Administration will continue to work with the local elected officials and law enforcement officials of our shore towns to address this issue fairly and responsibly."