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NJ police shut down another wedding for violating state shelter-in-place order

NJ police shut down another wedding for violating state shelter-in-place order

Police were responding to a car accident when they saw the wedding taking place, officials said

Keith Schubert
Asbury Park Press

LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Police had to shut down another wedding Thursday afternoon for violating the state’s gathering restrictions put in place by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Police were responding to a car accident when they noticed the wedding taking place on Wayne Street, Cpt. Gregory Staffordsmith said in an email.

While responding to the accident, “two vans pulled up with would-be wedding guests,” Staffordmith said. “The officers then noticed that a nearby backyard had a party tent set up,” he added.

About 40 people were attending the wedding, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement.

As of Thursday afternoon, Ocean County had 468 confirmed positive cases of the COVID-19 virus, 198 of which are in Lakewood, according to the county’s health department.

Staffordsmith said he did not immediately know how many people were in attendance.

William Katzenstein, 39, was issued a summons for violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor, Billhimer said. He is expected in court next month.

Thursday’s incident marks the third time police have had to break up a wedding for violating social distancing guidelines.

On Wednesday, township police responded to a Newport Drive home and issued a summons for a gathering of people that violated the statewide social distancing restrictions.

Gov. Murphy issued an executive order Saturday that banned all gatherings. The order was put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus that has infected nearly 7,000 people statewide.

“We understand that everyone’s daily routine has been affected by the coronavirus and our state’s effort to isolate and contain the spread of this outbreak. It’s not easy. We understand how difficult it is to change your way of living,” Billhimer said in the statement. Adding, “we all need to recognize the vital role we all have in flattening the curve of this outbreak.”

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