Amid nationwide efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, police have been busy breaking up parties and even arresting some people who refuse to comply with social distancing rules, including one man who police say defiantly threw two parties in a week.
“Can’t believe I have to say this at all, let alone for the second time. But here we are,” an exasperated New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted Saturday. “NO CORONA PARTIES. They’re illegal, dangerous, and stupid.”
Murphy’s complaint came after police on Friday broke up an alleged “corona party” that involved 47 people and a DJ inside of a 550-square-foot apartment in Ewing Township, north of Trenton, Murphy said at a press conference.
The tenant, 47-year-old Wade Jackson, was arrested for obstructing administration of law or other governmental function and a violation of emergency and temporary acts, police said.
That same night, police in Charles County, Maryland, said they arrested 41-year-old Shawn Myers after he allegedly hosted roughly 60 people at his home. It was the second incident at his home in four days.
During the first incident, on March 22, police said they let Myers off with a warning after he agreed to “disperse the crowd.” On Friday, Myers allegedly refused multiple requests to comply with officers’ demands and was charged with violating the governor’s emergency order.
Similar public defiances have been reported in Detroit and Hawaii, where police have reportedly issued 70 citations and made two arrests for alleged stay-at-home order violations.
Because the virus is believed to spread mainly from person to person, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises individuals to keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others to prevent respiratory droplets from an infected person from spreading to others.
Individual states and cities, in response to health warnings, have declared their own emergency rules involving social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. The White House has also advised the public to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people.