Starting on Black Friday through the holidays, shoppers under 18 will have to have an adult chaperone with them at two Connecticut malls between certain hours.
The Brass Mill Center in Waterbury and the Shoppes at Buckland Hills in Manchester, which are both part of Brookfield Properties, announced Wednesday plans for a mandatory curfew program during the holiday shopping season. The Parental Guidance Required Program, or PGR, will require anyone under the age of 18 to have an adult with them after 5 p.m. One adult may accompany up to four shoppers over the age of 10. There is no limit to the number of children age 10 and under per adult.
“The holiday season is the busiest time of year at the shopping center,” said Bill DeMaio, general manager of Brass Mill Center, in a media release. “The PGR program is an extra measure to ensure safety and establish a family-friendly environment for guests enjoy our shopping, entertainment and dining venues throughout the holidays.”
The program kicks off on Black Friday and will remain in effect every Friday and Saturday through December 21. Starting Thursday, December 26, adult supervision will be required every day starting at 1 p.m. During the enforced period, security officers stationed at the entrances will ask for identification from anyone who appears to be 17 or younger. Those 18 and older will be offered an optional wristband to wear inside. Those who choose not to wear it may be asked for their ID again inside the malls.
Acceptable forms of identification include a state-issued driver’s license or ID card, a military ID, a school ID or a passport. The ID must include a photograph and date of birth.
“In an effort to eliminate disruptive behavior by unsupervised youth and create a family-friendly atmosphere, we made the decision to implement a curfew program for the holiday season, said Virginia Pepe, general manager of The Shoppes at Buckland Hills. “All are welcome at The Shoppes at Buckland Hills and at all times. We simply require that young guests have adult supervision during certain hours through the duration of the busy holiday shopping season.
Manchester’s mayor and police chief are in support of the program. Last year, Manchester police responded to the mall after fighting broke out the day after Christmas, causing a large-scale disturbance that involved as many as 300 people.
Supervision will be required across the entire property, including the parking lot and sidewalks.
David McGuire, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut, released a statement on Thursday, criticizing the curfew.
“Treating everyone who looks youthful as a potential suspect is inappropriate and wrong. These types of curfews are ineffective and leave too much room for selective enforcement. Will they be applied equally to youth from Waterbury’s East End and those from Bunker Hill? To kids from Hartford and those from Glastonbury? To youth of color and white youth? Malls can certainly set up standard rules for behavior, but targeting anyone who ‘appears to be’ youthful is a recipe for inequity,” McGuire said in the statement.