TRENTON-New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the time for asking residents to follow state-mandated orders and his office and local law enforcement will no longer be asking nicely for residents of the state to follow Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order to self-quarantine.
“It’s time for each and everyone in our state to do their part and for those who don’t do their part, there will be serious consequences,” Grewal said. “Violation of stay-at-home order will have consequences. If you throw a party and violate the order, police officers will show up, shut it down and issue violations.”
Grewal said New Jersey’s law enforcement officers need to focus on critical public safety issues, not making sure people follow a common sense stay-at-home order.
“The governor has extensive authority to take bold actions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, can shut down non-essential businesses, violating these orders is a criminal offense in state and range of charges available,” Grewal added. “This can result in misdemeanor to indictable charges and we now have a network of prosecutors stand ready to assist police to charge violators.”
He said this is your final warning.
“The time for warnings is over,” Grewal said. “The time to ensure compliance is here. If you’re a retail store or entertainment center and stay open, this is your final warning, you will be held accountable.”
Price gouging is also happening in New Jersey and Grewal said his office will aggressively work to bring justice to those businesses engaging in price gouging.
“We know this is a concern to many people and we’re taking action,” he said. “Surgical masks, sanitizer, wipes, food, and bottled water are items people have been price gouging. Thankfully, few businesses are raising prices and in some cases, price increases are being driven by manufacturer and wholesaler, not your local retailer.”
To date, there have been 1,400 covid-19 complaints against 900 businesses. The state has issued 160 cease and desist letters and 30 subpoenas have been issued.
“We will remain vigilant,” he said, “I will guarantee you that additional fraud cases are going to come particularly when federal money begins to flow in.”
Grewal also said those who are using the coronavirus outbreak as a means to spread hate and bias within their community will also face justice.
“We are committed to stopping those who use this pandemic to fuel acts of bias or hate,” Grewal said. “We’re cracking down on bias offenses, this should go without saying. Covid-19 is no excuse for tolerance or hate. There have been reports of harassment. We can’t let covid-19 lead to stereotyping or bias. No one community is more at risk for contracting or spreading the virus.”
If you face covid-19 discrimination, reach out to the division of civil rights.
“Hate in all of its forms is a disease, and a disease we need to contain,” Grewal said.
“There’s special place in hell for those who use this virus outbreak to take advantage,” Governor Murphy said. “We will not tolerate those who use the virus outbreak to promote hate and bias against other residents of the State of New Jersey.”