NEW JERSEY — Halloween weekend saw mostly compliance with coronavirus restrictions across the state with a few notables outliers, according to New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan on Monday.
“I thank the overwhelming majority of you who celebrated safely and especially those of you who took extra precautions to keep trick or treaters and their families safe as well,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during his virtual coronavirus press conference. “I’m really heartened that so many of you are taking seriously the need and the responsibility to help us beat back this second wave.”
Regarding those who did not comply, Callahan said the state’s COVID-19 task force broke up a large Halloween party in Newark. Authorities ultimately seized $10,000 worth of alcohol and two party organizers were charged. Three other large gatherings in the city also led to fire, ABC and code violations, he added.
When asked later by a media member whether there were incidents of note elsewhere in the state, Murphy only reiterated the Newark violations.
Both Callahan and Murphy also discussed a pro-Trump protest that brought traffic to a standstill on the Garden State Parkway on Sunday.
In an MSNBC interview earlier in the day, the governor said it will be up to the authorities to “address any fallout” from the gathering of cars and trucks waving Trump flags and other banners two days before Election Day. A collection of pro-Trump supporters also blocked traffic at the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in New York.
Murphy called the display “silly” and “dangerous”
“I want to say from my own taste a lot more weight on the dangerous side. Silly because I don't know what that accomplished. If you want to get your guy elected president, either one of these guys, go to Pennsylvania or go to someplace where the race is on the knife’s edge,” Murphy said. “The only thing that I got upset about…is that folks were in close proximity to a lot of those protests without wearing any face coverings….what happened yesterday put other innocent people, who were not part of it, in harm's way."
On Monday, state police officials did not clarify if any citations were issued Sunday. Callahan said officers responding to the scene were more concerned with helping traffic to resume moving.
As for whether video evidence may lead to summonses later on, he said, “Maybe it's those first three cars in the left center and right lane, but I'll defer the detectives and the turnpike authority to see if they can identify those folks and if so, I would imagine that they would be issued the motor vehicle summonses for obstructing traffic.”
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