Officers Spend 5 Hours Breaking Up Party of 700 People

By , WCBS Newsradio 880

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Some New Jersey residents continue to break COVID-19 guidelines, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday, as he announced police were forced to break up a party of 700 people on Sunday.

Jackson Township Police officers say it took five hours to break up a party of 700 people on Sunday night at a home on Mill Pond Road in the Whispering Hill neighborhood. 

In a Facebook post, the department said it received a flurry of calls and said the partygoers were at a home that had been rented out on Airbnb.

The 40-year-old homeowner, who told police he rented the home out on site, received a summons for violating COVID-19 executive orders, according to police. Two party organizers from Newark, a 23-year-old woman and a 22-year-old woman, also received summonses.

On Monday, the governor said he was disappointed in the gathering and pleaded with people to use good judgement and avoid indoor gatherings. 

“Anyone who thinks we can just put our feet up and relax and let this take its course is not paying attention,” he said. “You’re absolutely looking for trouble, no matter how old you are.”

Indoor gatherings in the state are limited to 100 people; outdoor gatherings are capped at 500 people.

“We're not saying you can't gather, but it is literally irresponsible, you're playing with fire if you gather indoors without face coverings, without social distance in close proximity,” Murphy said.

Airbnb released a statement on the incident saying, “We strongly condemn the reported behavior, which represents both a clear violation of Airbnb's community policies and a particularly serious abuse during this public health crisis.”

So-called “party houses” have been banned globally by the company, which also bans party organizers from using the platform. 

State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan says they are seeing more of these summer parties with bars and indoor dining closed.

"It can be done in a safe manner but when the max capacity is 500 and there's 700-plus people there that's just unacceptable," Callahan said.

An Airbnb spokesperson said the homeowner and renters have been banned from the platform.

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