LAKEWOOD-New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is finally cracking down on large public gatherings in the face of the growing Coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey. At the Jersey Shore, Lakewood Township’s rate of infection is leading the southern half of New Jersey and Grewal said his office will start imposing $1,000 fines and holding organizers of large gatherings accountable.
Violations of Governor Murphy’s social distancing executive order can also face up to 6 months in jail.
“Our first responders should not be expending their limited PPE and putting themselves at risk by breaking up large gatherings like they did twice in Lakewood and over the weekend in Salem County,” Grewal said.
Slowly, officials in Lakewood are responding.
As of this weekend, an order to close schools and houses of worship has been declared by community leaders.
Late Saturday night, police responded to a noise complaint on Lanning Avenue in Penns Grove, where more than 30 people were attending a house party. Officers of the Penns Grove Police Department broke up the party and charged the man who was hosting the party, Jacquon Jones, 37, with a disorderly persons offense for violating Governor Murphy’s order prohibiting large gatherings. Party guests were making videos of the party to post on YouTube.
In Lakewood, police responded at approximately 2:30 p.m. yesterday to a large group of people gathered at a tent for a wedding outside a home. As police units responded to disperse the gathering, the homeowner continued the wedding. Lakewood Police issued a summons to the homeowner, Meir T. Gruskin, 37, charging him with a disorderly persons offense for violating the emergency order. After the summons was issued, the wedding ended and the crowd dispersed.
The second incident in Lakewood took place at a school located on Main Street. Police responded at approximately 5:52 p.m. yesterday and discovered a gathering of approximately 25 teenage and adult males. Upon conclusion of the gathering, officers advised the school’s headmaster, Abraham Bursztyn, 48, that he was violating the emergency order and issued him a summons, charging him with maintaining a nuisance, a disorderly persons offense.