After topless flap, Ocean City enacts public nudity ban

WASHINGTON — The Ocean City Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance today banning public nudity. The quick action followed mounting concern over social media posts claiming the Maryland beach is going topless.

“Just for the record, Ocean City has never been a topless beach,” Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan said after the city council passed the legislation on Saturday.

Meehan said they received hundreds of calls and emails from residents and visitors expressing concern over this issue. “The ordinance provides clarity as to the position, that we will not allow women to be topless on our beach or on any public property within the city limits of Ocean City,” Meehan said. “We have never been a topless beach, and we will not become a topless beach.”

Grandmother and Ocean City resident Caroline De Larken supports the ban.

“I’m not a prude, but there is a time and a place, and if people choose that, God bless them,” she said. “But this is supposed to be a family resort. I want to retire and pass away here. I would hate to pull all my money, and pick up stakes and move to Delaware.”

She added: “I shouldn’t have to be concerned about going to the beach, I would love to go the beach today … but I am a little bit cautious.”

This all began after a woman questioned the legality of Ocean City’s requirement that women wear tops, but not men. While the county awaits an opinion from the Maryland Attorney General, Beach Patrol was instructed not to tell topless women to cover up. Under the emergency ordinance, women could be fined for going topless.


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