Authorities in New Jersey apparently will not be flouted, fooled, hoodwinked, or otherwise outsmarted by those who continue to defy social distancing orders instituted by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
What happened this time?
Seems a group of good-time buddies decided to party down Sunday with a bonfire get-together on banks of the Pennsauken Creek in Cinnaminson, Patch reported, citing Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
Believe it or not, the group of 11 used boats and wave runners to get to the location, after which the revelers drank alcohol, authorities told the outlet.
But police caught wind of the shindig and broke it up, Patch said, adding that the participants were charged with violating Murphy's executive order barring public gatherings over the coronavirus pandemic.
The members of the group are all from Maple Shade and between the ages of 18 and 29, the outlet said, and their cases will be tried in municipal court. Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, Patch reported.
What did the attorney general have to say?
"Our message to violators is that we will hold you accountable, whether it is through a summons for those who violate the social distancing orders, or an arrest on indictable charges for those who deliberately harm or threaten others during this emergency," Grewal said, according to the outlet.
Same story, different day
New Jersey has been in the news quite a bit of late over its crackdowns for the sake of flattening the curve. A few days ago state officials ordered a tulip farm to cease its drive-thru tours since they violate Murphy's executive order.
And that ain't all:
- A woman who organized an anti-lockdown protest last Friday outside the New Jersey State House in Trenton was charged with violating Murphy's stay-at-home orders. Oh, and a state trooper was seen writing down license plate numbers of vehicles involved with the demonstration.
- Cops shut down a "corona party" in Rumson earlier this month featuring 30 middle-aged folks assembled on the front lawn of a house — and spilling into the street — listening to a pair of guitarists perform songs by famed British rock band Pink Floyd. Charges were "pending" against the "people involved," police said.
- In late March, police arrested a man for hosting a "corona party" with 47 guests in his 550-square foot apartment. "The organizer was charged, as they should have been and deserved to be," Murphy later said. "This is not a game. Stay home. Be smart."
- Earlier in March, two residents were arrested for hosting gatherings of over 50 people in defiance of the order. One of the gatherings was a pop-up wedding held at a resident's home.