UPDATE: Party-goers packed a Vegas-like backyard bash that spilled into the street at a posh Bergen County mansion this past weekend, bringing police, an ambulance – and, now, scrutiny from the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.
The coronavirus pandemic was spreading when promoters two months ago made the Hemlock Drive home, in what’s considered New Jersey’s most exclusive zip code, “a nightclub being operated from the backyard,” one neighbor told NBC New York.
Video posted by the promoter and attendees shows hundreds of party-goers crammed into this weekend's backyard pool party, nearly all without masks and not social distancing.
Some are seen passed out on the front lawn and elsewhere around the Alpine residence. One of them had to be hospitalized after police were called.
“I’ve been to Vegas a number of times,” the anonymous neighbor said, “and this is like a pool party that they throw there.”
There are more parties being advertised at the mansion, including one this coming weekend.
“Based on the description, there was close congregation and not a lot of face coverings, if any,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during his Monday briefing. “And if in fact people were bused in and it was a promoted party, that’s not going to end well.”
Several attendees came to the "Lavish Experience Pool Party" from New York City, some showing up in shuttle buses.
One woman told a reporter her group paid $1,000 to get bused in from Brooklyn.
Built only a few years ago, the mansion reportedly is owned by Fort Lee personal injury lawyer Joseph LaBarbiera.
In his defense, a man who described himself only as the promoter told a reporter: “This is absolutely out of hand. This is not how we do things. It got out of control.”
An expected coronavirus “rebound” was originally expected around October. But an increase in the transmission rate has Murphy reducing the limit on indoor gatherings on Monday to 25% percent capacity -- with a maximum 25 people -- from what recently had been 100.
The reason? House parties, he said.
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