Camden curfew on business operations set to begin

In just a few days, it will be harder to do business late at night in the crime-ridden city of Camden. While a legal challenge works its way through the courts, the city will begin enforcing its business curfew Sept. 17.

The goal of the business curfew is to enhance the quality of life for Camden residents, according to city attorney Marc Riondino.

“They can operate Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 12 midnight,” he said. “That’s more than enough time to conduct business and make a sufficient profit. The city of Camden is 8 square miles and most of the commercial corridors — a vast majority — are within steps away from residential zones.”

For those residents, it’s a problem, said Riondino. Some businesses that stay open late at night attract loiterers and drug dealers.

“This ordinance was carefully crafted and there were certain delineated exceptions,” Riondino said. “If you’re not within 200 feet of a residential zone, then you’re exempt. If you’re a pharmacy, you’re exempt. Or if you’re a gas station, you don’t have to close — they’re emergency exceptions.”

Riondino said residents of the impoverished city simply want the same quality of life as residents of nearby suburban towns.

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