Religious, Work Exemptions Specified in Toms River Mayor Mo Hill’s Teen Beach Curfew

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TOMS RIVER, NJ – If you are under the age of 18 years old and caught walking the streets in Toms River’s beachfront communities, you can be charged and possibly arrested by police. That’s because Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill has invoked Governor Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 state of emergency executive order No. 103 to enforce unruly teens in those communities.

“The curfews worked well in 2020 and 2021,” said Mayor Maurice Hill.  “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.”

There are some exemptions to the curfew, however. Hill specifically carved out a religious and work exemption. Teens traveling to and from work or engaged in religious or educational functions are exempt from the curfew, even if they are unsupervised.

The law also creates a tricky situation for teen drivers driving through the communities en route to other destinations. It appears highly unconstitutional for Toms River police to restrict the travel of teen drivers traveling along State Highway 35 from destinations north and south. To avoid the Toms River beaches would mean a detour for those drivers of up to nearly 20 miles.

Hill, who during the COVID-19 pandemic said he was against the restrictive Murphy lockdowns, is now relying on one of Murphy’s most critical lockdown orders to enforce a teen lockdown in his own town.