Police break up party violating coronavirus codes thrown by YouTube stars at Jersey Shore home

Police break up party violating coronavirus codes thrown by YouTube stars at Jersey Shore home
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Police on Monday night broke up a party at a rental home best known as the setting for MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”

Officers said hundreds of people attended the gathering, violating state health codes amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

YouTube personalities the Nelk Boys rented the famous house to celebrate the launch of a new website selling the group’s branded apparel. 

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NBC News reported Tuesday that eyewitnesses confirmed the crowd at the event had been building all day and was finally dispersed after 9 p.m. Seaside Mayor Anthony Vaz told NBC that at the height of the gathering, more than a thousand people were packed outside the house.

Under New Jersey’s current COVID-19 guidelines, outdoor gatherings must be limited to 500 people and “social distancing must be practiced.”

"We will not tolerate this or these kinds of things that will disrupt an image we're trying to correct," Vaz told NBC News on Tuesday. "It was shocking to me."

The Nelk Boys posted videos on Instagram documenting the event throughout the day. In the footage, the group opened the front door to show police lights and hundreds of people outside. Most appeared to be tightly packed and not wearing masks. 

The home's owner, Daniel Merk, can be heard in the video telling the renters to end the party. Merk told NBC News that he had initially agreed to rent the house to the group believing they were hosting a small gathering. 

The New Jersey Department of Health has reported a continuous decrease in new positive COVID-19 cases in the state from an average of around 20,000 per day in May to a daily average of about 500 in the past week. 

The party comes after YouTube announced on Friday it was suspending the group’s channel after the Nelk Boys posted videos of a series of packed parties they hosted on college campuses. 

“We suspended the NELK channel from the Partner Program because they encouraged large numbers of people to disregard social distancing guidelines, creating a large public health risk,” the YouTube team said in a tweet.