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Police break up 'illegal' house party that violated N.J.'s stay-at-home order

The party's organizer was charged, the governor said.
/ Source: NBC News

Police in New Jersey broke up a house party in which 47 people crammed into a small apartment in violation of the state's stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines, the state governor said. The organizer was charged.

"Last night, Ewing Township Police broke up a party with 47 people – including a DJ – crammed into a 550-square foot apartment," Gov. Phil Murphy said during a press conference Saturday. "The organizer was charged, as they should have been and deserved to be.”

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"This is not a game. Stay home. Be smart," Murphy tweeted, revealing the news. During the press conference, the governor encouraged people to only go out if they need to go to a supermarket or a pharmacy and to remain six feet apart from others.

The Mercer County Prosecutor's Office is handling the case, according to the governor. Information about the specific charges against the party organizer was not immediately available.

Murphy used the case as an example to show what "not to do" as coronavirus cases continue to increase in the state. New Jersey reported 2,289 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. Cases in the state now total 11,124. So far, 140 have died of coronavirus in the state.

“One hundred and forty invaluable, precious, unexpendable souls who are no longer with us in the Garden State because of this virus,” Murphy said.

Hours after addressing the house party incident in Mercer County during a press conference, the governor took to Twitter to double down on his administration's crackdown on gatherings of multiple people.

"Can’t believe I have to say this at all, let alone for the second time. But here we are. NO CORONA PARTIES. They’re illegal, dangerous, and stupid. 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 tweeted.