The Ocean City Council passed an emergency ordinance Saturday that prohibits females from baring their breasts in public.
The public hearing on the ordinance took place at a hastily convened special meeting after regional and national media picked up a story about a Beach Patrol memo issued Tuesday saying lifeguards were not to take action against women sunbathing topless on the beach.
The essence of the memo was that since neither Maryland nor Ocean City appeared to have a law that addresses that particular aspect of undress, lifeguards were to focus on protecting lives while the division sought guidance from the Maryland Attorney General.
That memo, however, ignited a frenzy of phone calls from more than 80 news outlets from across the country asking city officials if some kind of major policy change was in the offing.
In response, the council announced a special session to clear up any legal confusion by passing a new ordinance.