Belmar, New Jersey Closed After Mayor Says It Reached Capacity

Belmar, New Jersey closed after the mayor said it had reached capacity, and has been reopened.

On Sunday afternoon, mayor Matt Doherty closed off the town’s primary road, Route 35, only allowing the town’s legal residents to enter with proper identification. All other people were turned away.

“Unfortunately, we’re not able to accept any more visitors,” he said, adding that the decision was made to protect the public after he spoke to the police.

Doherty later took to Twitter to make the announcement.

“Belmar has reached it capacity and we are shutting down all traffic into town from Route 35 effective immediately,” he tweeted at 3:04 p.m.

What was the reason for the town, which is a 1.6 square-mile beach holding approximately 6,000 residents, being closed? According to StarPulse, the town held their annual New Jersey Seafood Festival that weekend, which drew in crowds that numbered higher than 200,000 people.

“We have our 29th seafood festival along with the day being a perfect 10 weather wise,” Doherty said according to NJ. “We really reached our capacity, so we started to shut down people coming into town.”

Several hours later, Doherty reopened the town, and once again took to Twitter to make it Internet official.

“Route 35 entrances to Belmar are back open,” he tweeted at 7:03 p.m.

John Sentner, the manager on duty at Connolly Station on Main Street, said the road closure didn’t have much of an impact on their dinner rush.

“We kind of lucked out that it didn’t really affect us that drastically,” Sentner said. “Between the people leaving the beachfront and people driving through Main Street, we’ve been pretty steady.”

The town was so busy that the manager at 9th Ave Pier didn’t even have time to talk about the road closure when he was contacted via telephone.

“We’re at capacity right now and I have a line out the door,” a manager who answered the phone said. “I just can’t right now.”

This marks the fourth time that the town has had to close its doors. It was closed for six months following superstorm Sandy in 2012 and 2013, Greekfest in 1993 and 1994, and MTV Sports Festival in 1992.

[Photo via Shutterstock]

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