Social-distancing trouble: Lakewood cops break up 17 gatherings
LAKEWOOD — More than a dozen property owners have been ticketed for violating Gov. Phil Murphy's coronavirus executive order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people.
Lakewood police spokesman Greg Staffordsmith said police received a number of complaints this week about weddings at catering halls and private homes. Police on Tuesday night broke up two weddings at the Lake Terrace and Fountain Ballroom that each had more than 50 attendees.
About 50 students remained at Mesivta of Lakewood, a Jewish high school, on Friday afternoon with the goal of getting all of the remaining students off campus by the end of the day, according to Staffordsmith. An officer from the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency was dispatched to the site.
More than 100 students were at the school earlier in the week in defiance of Murphy's order closing all private and public schools in the state, according to Staffordsmith, who said he was not aware of anyone in the school being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Staffordsmith said police will be working with the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
Officers also responded to a large crowd at a house on Oliver Court whose owner, Shaul Kuperwasser, 43 was charged with maintaining a public nuisance and is due in court in April.
A wedding at a home on Spruce Street led to similar charges against Eliyohu Zaks, 49, police said.
"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. Those that choose not to will be subject to criminal prosecution," Staffordsmith said.
Lakewood has become the epicenter of COVID-19 in Ocean County with the township having 26 of the 53 known cases in the county, according to the Ocean County Health Department, whose own count was ahead of the state's official tally Friday afternoon.
No new cases from Lakewood were added to the county health department list on Friday.