HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — On a typical night, North Beach in Fort Monroe would be packed with people dining and dancing at the Paradise Ocean Club.
Instead, the streets are filled with Park Rangers turning people away. That is because of the 6 p.m. weekend curfew enacted by the National Park Service.
The park service put the curfew in place after a woman was shot in the elbow last Sunday. They say she was shot after someone pulled a gun in the middle of an argument outside the club.
The club owner, Baxter Simmons, told 10 On Your Side that he is frustrated that he has to close the ocean club’s doors early. He adds that security at the Paradise Ocean Club is a priority for him.
Customers who enter the club are either wanded or required to step through a metal detector. Off-duty police officers also work on site.
“We haven’t had incidents here in 10 years that we have been open,” Simmons said. “Unfortunately, the incident we are talking about from last weekend didn’t happen on our property, so it is one of those things was under control and done with the point.”
The safety procedures are what Simmons will present to the National Park Service to explain how the club is keeping guests safe.
“It’s just an explanation of how we run our security, so they can see we are doing the best effort that we can inside to make the facility safe,” Simmons explained.
He hopes the National Park Service will lift the curfew. He said the weekend closure has directly affected his business.
“We are not able to keep operating with a 6 o’clock closure — plain and simple. It has too much of an impact on our business,” Simmons told 10 On Your Side.
He said around 100,000 people come through the doors of the Paradise Ocean Club each summer. The early close time means guests that would spend money in his facility are now turned away. Simmons said that is all thanks to a few bad apples.
“The facility we do the job we are supposed to do. We run security inside. We try to make it as safe as possible. We do a good job trying to police the crowd that is outside in the parking lots,” he said.
Simmons said he will await the National Park Service’s decision, which said the curfew is in effect until further notice.
You can still enjoy the views from the North Beach after 6 p.m. The National Park Service said you are still permitted to walk the boardwalk until midnight.