HOBOKEN, NJ - The City of Hoboken is prepared to fine residents who host indoor house parties with over 25 attendees, as rates of COVID transmission throughout New Jersey trend upwards.

"The Hoboken Police Department has responded to several house parties over the past few weekends, some of which were identified by the Health Department as contributing to clusters of cases," said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. "To that end, my administration has introduced to the City Council a new ordinance that provides fines of up to $1,000 for large, indoor gatherings above 25 people that are also violating other ordinances in the City including a disorderly house, noise, or disturbing the peace."

Health officials in Hoboken say the uptick locally stems from both small and large indoor gatherings with extended family and friends, along with travel out of state to hot spots.

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Regarding the fines for house parties, Bhalla said, "Both tenants and property owners would be assessed the fine if determined to be applicable by the Hoboken Police Department (HPD). This ordinance, which is fully supported by Police Chief Ken Ferrante, is meant to address a substantial health and safety issue of unruly house parties as it relates to COVID-19 spread, as opposed to peaceful get-togethers, although we strongly discourage gatherings of any type as well beyond household members."

The proposal was adopted unanimously by the Hoboken City Council on first reading, and should see a similar level of support ahead of potentially being enacted at the next Council meeting. The capacity of 25 is based on Governor Murphy's executive order on indoor gatherings.

Sources tell TAPinto Hoboken that around half of recent calls for house party violations in the City of Hoboken have seen numbers above 25 attendees.