After New Jersey declared an order for nonessential business and travel to cease and for people to stay at home, the state’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal vowed on Monday that those orders will be strictly enforced by police, with the possibility of jail time and fines for violators.
People who disobey the lockdown orders may be subjected to penalties from a disorderly persons charge up to an indictable offense, Grewal said during a press conference Monday. According to the Asbury Park Press, Grewal’s office noted disorderly persons charges are punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office has not responded to repeated inquiries from American Military News on whether it intends to impose those specific fines and jail terms reported by Asbury Park Press.
Grewal did say during the press conference that police will target nonessential businesses that stay open despite closure orders from Gov. Phil Murphy.
Grewal said the exact punishment will depend on the offense given. He said his office has given law enforcement leaders advice on how to charge specific offenses stemming from violations of Gov. Murphy’s order. He also said law enforcement will target and shut down large social gatherings such as house parties with dozens of people.
“The time for warnings is over. And the time to ensure compliance by using all of the tools available to us is here,” Grewal said.
Grewal continued, “Consider this as your final warning. Your actions are against the law in New Jersey and you will be held accountable. The same goes for individuals. If you and your friends decide to throw a party at your home and you invite 20 of your closest friends, stop. Law enforcement officers will have to break that party up and there will be criminal consequences.”
Grewal said his office will also pursue legal action against people who illegally price gouge on essential items, and legal action against those accused of discriminatory behavior during the coronavirus outbreak.
Murphy was one of the first governors to declare an order in his state restricting nonessential business activity and travel.
Other states that have introduced “stay at home” orders include Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Delaware, Ohio, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, and Oregon. Kentucky and Pennsylvania have also issued orders affecting “nonessential businesses.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently put the state’s National Guard units on standby. Newsom indicated he the National Guard could be called upon to enforce martial law, though he said: “We are not feeling at this moment that is a necessity.”