Police will be cracking down on those who break Gov. Phil Murphy’s statewide “stay at home” order that bans public gatherings and closes nonessential businesses, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Monday. The Order to "Stay Home" was issued to curtail the spread of deadly coronavirus in the state.
Authorities will target businesses, like bars or stores, that stay open despite the governor’s demand, Grewal said during a news conference. They will also look for residents who, for instance, throw a party at their home and invite dozens of people.
“Law enforcement officers will have to break that party up, and there will be criminal consequences,” Grewal said. “The time for warnings is over. And the time to ensure compliance by using all of the tools available to us is here.”
Authorities may slap offenders with everything from a disorderly persons charge to an indictable offense, Grewal said.
The exact charge will depend on the crime. But a disorderly persons offense is punishable by a prison term of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000 or both, Grewal’s office has said.
The decision to ratchet up pressure on violators comes a day after Murphy said he was "really damned unhappy" to hear that some New Jerseyans have been ignoring the stay-home request, which is meant to slow the coronavirus's spread.
"Folks need to be jolted," Murphy said Sunday. "All residents are to stay inside if you do not need to be out."
Issued Saturday, the order canceled gatherings of any number, including parties, weddings and religious ceremonies. But people can still go to the grocery store, seek medical care, exercise outside or visit close friends and relatives. Exceptions were also made for a series of jobs, including construction workers and home health aides.
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