LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Police in New Jersey broke up a bat mitzvah over the weekend that had 40 to 50 people in attendance despite a ban on all gatherings because of the coronavirus outbreak,New Jersey State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said Monday.
The event, which took place in Lakewood, resulted in the issuance of a violation to the state’s stay-at-home order as well as a charge of child neglect, according to Callahan.
It was one of several violations state officials have highlighted to stress the severity of the coronavirus outbreak and the need to follow social distancing rules.
The total number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey rose to more than 16,600 on Monday. There have been at least 198 deaths in the state.
Since Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order banning all gatherings and directing all non-essential businesses to close, there have been 70 compliance issues resulting in 34 indictable offenses, according to Callahan.
On Friday, police broke up a “corona party” in Ewing Township after receiving an anonymous tip about the gathering. There were 47 people, including a DJ, crammed into the 550-square-foot apartment, according to Murphy.
The tenant, Wade E. Jackson, was issued summonses for obstructing administration of law or other governmental function, and violation of emergency and temporary acts, police said.
Murphy suggested the penalties for violating the stay-at-home order should be raised.
“For somebody to willfully ignore this and put someone else’s life at stake is just — and you’re doing it, by the way, if you have a gathering you’re doing it in a more benign way than if you cough on somebody and say you’ve got coronavirus but in both cases you’re wrong,” the governor said Monday.