Visitors respond to possible cooler ban on beaches

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Jenkinson’s Beach and Boardwalk hs reopened for the 2020 season. PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

POINT PLEASANT BEACH — The borough’s plan for stricter guidelines on the beach and boardwalk area in the works all to combat quality-of-life issues, officials say.

The borough is drafting an ordinance to ban coolers on all beaches in Point Pleasant Beach. Coolers are currently allowed on the beach but are checked by an employee before entry.

“The crux of the problem here in many ways is that people use coolers to sneak their alcohol onto the beaches, onto the boardwalk…,” said the mayor, adding cooler usage creates a tremendous amount of trash for the borough. 

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Officials also hope the ban would cut down on misbehavior along the beach and boardwalk.

On Sunday, June 21, the boardwalk was packed with people from all over the state. Some said the cooler ban would help businesses along the boardwalk while others opposed the ban all out.

Joanne and John Sullivan were visiting the boardwalk from Manchester. The two said they have lived along the Jersey Shore in Monmouth and Ocean counties their whole lives. 

“We don’t break the law so when we go with a cooler, we bring soda,” said Mr. Sullivan. “Don’t pick on me because somebody else is breaking the law, enforce the law.”

The pair said they often visit the borough’s beaches with their grandchildren bringing juice and water in a cooler on to the beach.

“That’s typical of our society now, somebody breaks the law so we make it miserable for people who pay attention to the law,” added Mr. Sullivan. 

Resident Phil Baum said he didn’t want to see a cooler ban either, saying more pressing issues, in his opinion, included music.

“If you come down here, you got to pay for kids to get on the beach. If you have a family of two kids it could cost you $100 with rides and everything, so I don’t like the idea in all honesty,” said Mr. Baum.

Mr. Baum added he often goes onto the beach with water in a cooler along with sandwiches and snacks.

“It’s a catch-twenty-two though because I like to support the people on the boardwalk…,” he said. “Especially now you feel bad because all of these places are still closed in some cases and all the money they’re losing with the rides [closed], it’s a shame.”

Sam Aballo, of Brick Township, was out on the boardwalk enjoying the sun. 

“I don’t really think it makes sense, especially if you have kids and you bring drinks and stuff, food and snacks and you leave it in there,” said Ms. Aballo. “I guess if you’re trying to lower alcohol [consumption] then yeah, I get it, but not everyone is drinking.”

Sam’s brother Al said the ban all depends on how you look at it and he could see a cooler ban helping out the boardwalk. 

“If they’re also trying to help the profit of companies along the boardwalk here, if not allowed to bring a cooler, you need cold drinks and food and your only option is to come up here,” said Mr. Aballo.

Sally Amato, of Howell, uses the borough’s beaches as her home beach. She also does not agree with the possible ban. 

“I don’t get it,” she said. “If you’re sitting with your own family at the beach, why would you not be allowed to have a cooler? It seems like an excuse to force people to buy stuff at the boardwalk and make up for lost revenue”

The borough’s cooler ban will likely be introduced in July or August. 

The borough also plans to introduce ordinances bringing back weekend code enforcement and even possibly a dress code for the boardwalk. 

They already have submitted to the county a request to raise fines for all misdemeanors. 

The borough hopes to strengthen its rules hopefully molding the way to a more family-friendly beachfront.

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