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Guest counting embraced as remedy to patron rowdiness

Restaurants and bars in the popular resort town of Montauk, N.Y., will be required to maintain a count of patrons on premise under a law approved by lawmakers earlier this week.

The measure is intended to dampen the rowdiness that has pitted locals and visiting families in the sleepy seaside resort against partying-minded youngsters, many from nearby New York City, who descend on the village on weekends.

Overcrowding of the town’s limited number of bars and restaurants is seen by many as a contributing factor to public drunkenness and disorderly behavior. Crowds milling outside the bars and nightclubs have been cited as a noisy nuisance that some feel is changing the culture of the quiet fishing village and getaway.

The requirement applies to any eating or drinking establishment with a fire-code capacity of at least 100 patrons.

The law passed by East Hampton Township, the jurisdiction that encompasses Montauk, requires that a mechanical device be used to maintain a headcount and thereby avoid overcrowding. The count must be available to authorities upon request, according to the measure.

It was not clear when the mandate would take effect. The resort’s high season traditionally ends on Labor Day. 

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