New Jersey town considering ban on shirtlessness, saggy pants
NEWTON, N.J. — Officials in Newton, New Jersey, a town 60 miles west of New York City, are looking at some new town ordinances that address "quality of life" issues.
The town manager, in charge of the town of 9,000 residents, say residents need to start covering up in public.
"We are talking about a basic standard of decency that should be expected in a community, in a downtown, in the business district," said Thomas Russo.
Russo says there have been a number of complaints of people walking around without shirts, without shoes and with saggy pants. Sara Megletti runs the PB&J clothing shop and says residents often complain about their safety.
"It's not unreasonable to ask people to come to our outdoor shopping mall and put on a shirt and wear shoes when they are in the presence of the general public," Megletti says.
Russo proposed a few ordinances to the Town Council that would create a standard of appearance in town. One was banning pants and skirts from sagging three inches from a persons' hipbone – however, the town council denied that request saying the police have better things to worry about.
However, the council is now looking at the shirts and shoes proposal.
Megletti says it becomes more of an issue when it is hot outside.
"If people are hot they are hanging out and taking their shirt off while hanging on the street," says Megletti.
The Town Council is looking at ways to enforce the proposed ordinance – anything from a verbal warning to a monetary fine.
But, we were wondering what would happen if a person decided to go for a jog through the town without a shirt on.
"That's what we have to discuss because now you are mixing the two," says Russo.
A shirtless Larry Savidge was running on an 85-degree day in Newton.
"It's government infringement more and more," he said. "Pretty soon they won't want you having collars on your shirt."
However, he says he would put a shirt on if a cop told him to do so.