New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal urged the public and business owners to comply with the governor’s emergency orders to ease the burdens and risks for hard-pressed law enforcement officers.
“Our police officers are going above and beyond the call of duty during this health crisis," he said. "Unfortunately, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the orders put in place to protect us all — or what is more egregious, people falsely using the coronavirus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work."
On March 24, David C. Morris, 54, allegedly told New Jersey state troopers in Sussex County that he had the coronavirus in an attempt to avoid arrest after a motor vehicle stop. He was charged with DWI. (See list for other recent arrests.)
Staying home and maintaining social distance is not just good advice to stay healthy, it’s the law, said Grewal. If you are seeing a lack of compliance in your town, contact your local police department or make a report at https://covid19.nj.gov/violation.
Make no mistake, we will do what it takes to keep our residents and police officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file criminal charges against those who violate the emergency orders.”
The governor's order, issued on March 21, prohibits all gatherings. When in public, people must stay at least six feet apart whenever possible, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.
The governor closed all non-essential retail businesses, except for grocery stores, farmer's markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores. Also exempt are pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries; medical supply stores; gas stations; convenience stores; ancillary stores within healthcare facilities; hardware and home improvement stores; banks and other financial institutions; laundromats and dry-cleaning services; stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years; pet stores; liquor stores; car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;p rinting and office supply shops; and mail and delivery stores.
Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police said the vast majority of New Jersey residents and businesses are complying with the governor's order, which must be strictly followed to prevent community spread of COVID-19
“As we work collectively to accomplish this goal, it is imperative that businesses and residents follow the protocols set forth in the executive order," Callahan said. "Failure to do so will result in a swift response from law enforcement.”
The health department reported 16,636 positive cases and 198 deaths statewide as of Monday, with 113 positive cases in Sussex County.
“Our police officers are going above and beyond the call of duty during this health crisis. Unfortunately, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the orders put in place to protect us all — or what is more egregious, people falsely using the coronavirus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work." --New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal