TRENTON, NJ – If you were planning on having a large family gathering at your home this coming Thanksgiving in New Jersey think again. If you planned on having more than 10 guests in your home, you will be violating the Governor’s latest executive order that puts a cap of 10 guests indoors at private gatherings. Once again, as during the spring the Murphy administration is following the lead of New York Governor Mario Cuomo who also put the kibosh on large Thanksgiving dinners.
“I’m signing an Executive Order retightening restrictions on gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Murphy said. “Effective tomorrow, indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. Effective November 23rd, outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 150 people. The following indoor gatherings may continue under the current rules, limited to 25% of a room’s capacity, up to 150 people. Religious services/celebrations and political events.”
Violating an executive order issued by the governor carries big penalties. You can be fined up to $1,000 and receive up to six months in the county jail for breaking the rules, so start figuring out now who is going to tell Aunt Edna and Uncle Jimmy they are guests 11 and 12 and no longer allowed to come.
If there’s a bright side in the order, the fine could have been $15,000 if a bill introduced by Ocean County Republican Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano had their way. The trio tried to increase the fines for violations to $15,000, but after public backlash, backed off their bill and eventually pulled it.
“There must be a stronger penalty for violating the social distancing orders during this outbreak,” said Assemblyman McGuckin when he proposed the stiffer penalty. “The strong financial penalties that would be imposed by our legislation should discourage people from hosting gatherings in violation of the prohibition during this crisis.”
Murphy scaled back the reopening of New Jersey as positive COVID-19 cases hit a record high of 4,450 cases in a single day.
“As we begin the holiday season, plan accordingly and keep social distancing and safety in mind,” Murphy said. “We MUST redouble our efforts and crush the curve like we did last spring. Our lives literally depend on it.”