Lakewood police broke up 17 over-sized gatherings the past week that violated state coronavirus prevention orders -- but didn't arrest anyone, contrary to multiple media reports, authorities said.
Two wedding hosts, Shaul Kuperwasser, 43, and Eliyohu Zaks, 49, received summonses last week for maintaining a nuisance after holding weddings of more than 50 people in their homes, the department said in a statement.
Lakewood is home to a large Orthodox Jewish community and one of the biggest yeshivas in the United States.
It had 69 of the 149 positive COVID-19 cases in the county as of Monday, according to the Ocean County Health Department.
“The Lakewood Police is asking that its citizens be responsible and obey the directives set forth by the State of New Jersey for the safety and health of all,” Lakewood police said in the statement. “Those that choose not to will be subject to criminal prosecution.”
Gov. Phil Murphy has banned weddings, parties and all other events that draw crowds as a way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
During a Saturday news briefing, Murphy said he was "damned unhappy" about reports that weddings in Lakewood violated his "stay-at-home" order.
He promised a crackdown, directing deputy attorneys general and prosecutors to be on call 24/7 to deal with violators.
As of Monday, a total of 2,844 people reportedly tested positive for coronavirus in New Jersey.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.