New Jersey attorney general says those who break 'stay at home' order could face jail time, fines up to $1,000

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Monday warned that those who violate recent orders issued by Gov. Phil Murphy (D) barring nonapproved social gatherings and shutting down nonessential retail businesses could face "criminal consequences." 

The executive orders signed by Murphy over the weekend bar people in the state from throwing unauthorized social events. The orders also require nonessential retail businesses to “close storefront and/or brick-and-mortar premises” and state that “all recreational and entertainment businesses must close to the public.” 

The move by Murphy follows similar orders issued by governors across the country as states work to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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According to NorthJersey.com, Grewal said at a press conference on Monday that law enforcement will be on the lookout for businesses that violate the restrictions laid out in the executive orders signed by Murphy on Saturday as well as people who throw nonapproved gatherings.

“Law enforcement officers will have to break that party up, and there will be criminal consequences. The time for warnings is over. And the time to ensure compliance by using all of the tools available to us is here,” he said at the conference. 

He also reportedly said that violators could be charged with a disorderly persons offense, which the news outlet said is punishable by a prison term of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

The warning from Grewal comes days after The New York Times reported that a 73-year-old woman from New Jersey had died from the virus before she was able to learn that two of her eldest children had suffered the same fate before her.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 2,800 cases of the virus had been confirmed in the state, Murphy said on Twitter.

Murphy, who said the state had received 935 positive COVID-19 test results since the previous day, said the “increase is not a surprise.”

He added that as New Jersey begins a “more rigorous collection statewide, we’re getting a clearer and better sense of how far coronavirus has already spread.”