A New Jersey man has been charged after throwing a "corona party" with nearly 50 people in his small apartment — violating a statewide ban on social gatherings due to COVID-19. Governor Phil Murphy called the party "stupid" and said he was ready to "name" and "shame" anyone who throws another one.
Police in Ewing Township were called to an apartment around 1 a.m. Saturday after an anonymous call about a party. Officers found 47 people in a 550-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment. There was alcohol, the smell of marijuana and a DJ with speakers, according to the Mercer County prosecutor's office. Police sent all of the partygoers home.
The renter — identified by police as Wade E. Jackson, 47 — said he was throwing a "corona party," police said. He was issued one summons for violating an emergency act, and another for obstructing the law.
Governor Murphy issued an executive order March 21 that banned social gatherings and urged New Jersey residents to stay at least six feet apart from each other, to help stop the spread of the potentially deadly virus.
On Twitter, Murphy blasted the man behind the party.
"Last night, Ewing Township Police broke up a party with 47 people — including a DJ — crammed into a 550-square foot apartment. The organizer was charged, as they should have been and deserved to be," the governor wrote. "This is not a game. Stay home. Be smart."
Hours later, he circled back with another tweet.
"Can't believe I have to say this at all, let alone for the second time. But here we are. NO CORONA PARTIES. They're illegal, dangerous, and stupid," Murphy said. "We will crash your party. You will pay a big fine. And we will name & shame you until EVERYONE gets this message into their heads."
As of Sunday afternoon, New Jersey has confirmed 13,386 coronavirus cases and 161 deaths, according to the state's health department.