Lakewood police cited a half-dozen people – including a 99-year-old man—after they found them having an engagement party during the coronavirus outbreak, authorities said.
The group of adults and children had gathered on the front lawn of a Spruce Street home late Tuesday afternoon, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Lakewood Township Police Chief Gregory Meyer said in a joint release.
The gathering violated Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19, they said.
Police issued summonses to six people for violating the state of emergency order.
They also charged the hosts, Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, with six counts of child endangerment – one for each juvenile present at the party.
Charged with violating the governor’s executive order were Joshua Lichtenstein, 54, Brocha Lichtenstein, 22, Tzipora Wolfe, 24, Shmuel Kaufman, 23, Syril Lichtenstein, 54, of Lakewood; Samuel Wolfe, 27, Michael Zimmerman, 99, and Ruky Zimmerman, 21, all of Lakewood.
Along with the increase of coronavirus cases in New Jersey are growing numbers of people charged with crimes directly tied to the pandemic, authorities said.
Lakewood has drawn the most police attention as people continue to defy the governor’s order by holding weddings, engagement parties and other large events.
Tuesday's engagement party marks nearly 20 broken up by police in a week.
Authorities have also had to deal with anti-Semitic threats made to the community as a result of the gatherings.
Police will continue to disperse crowds and ticket those responsible as long as the emergency order is in effect, said Billhimer, the prosecutor.
"Nothing short of 100% compliance will be tolerated," the prosecutor said. “Stay home and practice social distancing, and please have some consideration for our law enforcement officers."
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