Earlier this week, Gov. Phil Murphy called on all New Jersey residents to limit gatherings in all locations to no more than 50 people to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Most individuals and entities have been following this guidance. But some have not.

With the virus now starting to spike dramatically, Murphy said he will speak with law enforcement authorities on Friday about instituting a new get-tough policy.

“Yes, it is time to cut the crap," he said Thursday. "We simply cannot have this. It has to be enforced, it will be enforced aggressively.”

“It’s 50 people at most — and by the way, if you want a little foreshadowing, if anything that number is going down, not up.”

Murphy said a conference call will take place at noon on Friday with the attorney general and law enforcement "up and down the state."

"As we go into a weekend, we mean business. When we say no more gatherings over X number of people, when we say this is closed, we mean it and we will enforce it.”

A few days ago, police broke up two weddings in Lakewood with more than 50 people in attendance. Other infractions have also been reported in different parts of the state.

Murphy said the 50-person limit must be strictly enforced, even when laying a loved one to rest.

“I feel awful about it but the fact of the matter is we’ve got to ensure compliance no matter what it is — weddings, funerals, baptisms, you name it.”


Murphy, state health officials and leaders across the nation have urged strict social distancing measures be enacted to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus so the number of seriously ill patients needing hospital care does not overwhelm the healthcare system.

Murphy also called on parents to make sure their children are not "going underground" and having parties at home.

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said he anticipates Attorney General Gurbir Grewal will be issuing guidelines to county prosecutor’s offices across New Jersey about what kinds of charges can and should be filed in situations where residents disregard the 50 person limit for gatherings.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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