Police in New Jersey arrested a man Friday for hosting a house party in his 550-square foot apartment that featured 47 guests — including a DJ.
According to a statement from police, the party host, 47-year-old Wade Jackson, branded the gathering as a “Corona Party” in defiance of social distancing guidelines. Officers received an anonymous call about the party late Friday night and quickly responded to the location and dispersed the crowd.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy notified the public about the party in a news conference Saturday and later slammed the event on Twitter.
“The organizer was charged, as they should have been and deserved to be,” Murphy said. “This is not a game. Stay home. Be smart.”
In a follow-up tweet, Murphy cited the “illegal” party as an example of what not to do during the coronavirus outbreak, and warned that the government will not allow such gatherings to go on.
“NO CORONA PARTIES. They’re illegal, dangerous, and stupid,” Murphy declared. “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.”
Murphy issued an executive order earlier in the month that canceled “gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events” in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the state.
Last week, two other Lakewood, New Jersey, residents were arrested for hosting gatherings of over 50 people in defiance of the order. One of the gatherings was a pop-up wedding held at a resident’s home.
In the news conference Saturday, when the death toll was at 140, Murphy grieved over the “one hundred and forty invaluable, precious, unexpendable souls who are no longer with us in the Garden State because of this virus.”