Day: March 27, 2020

Attorney General Grewal Urges Public To Comply With Emergency Orders Or Face Law Enforcement Action

“Stay Home and Stay Safe” Is Not Just Good Advice During COVID-19 Emergency— It’s the Law

March 27, 2020

Updated with correction from AG Office

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today urged the public and business owners to comply with the Governor’s emergency orders— not only to keep themselves and others healthy, but to avoid creating more work and risks for hard-pressed law enforcement officers.  He warned that those who fail to comply will be held accountable, citing numerous cases where charges have been filed for violations of the orders or other offenses related to the coronavirus. “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,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Staying home and maintaining social distance is not just good advice to stay healthy, it’s the law.  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.”    “Once again, New Jersey citizens are facing a crisis with unwavering resolve, fortitude and perseverance, because the vast majority of our residents and businesses are complying with Governor Murphy’s executive order, which must be strictly adhered to in order to prevent community spread of COVID-19,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “As we work collectively to accomplish this goal, it is imperative that businesses and residents follow the protocols set forth in the executive order. Failure to do so will result in a swift response from law enforcement.” Here are some of the recent enforcement actions taken, as well as other cases where individuals were charged by law enforcement with crimes related to COVID-19: 

  • On March 12, Lea Piazza, 28, was charged with false public alarm and motor vehicle offenses after falsely claiming to be infected with the coronavirus during a DWI arrest in Hanover Township.
  • On March 16, Jennifer Burgess allegedly spit on officers in Dunellen, claiming to have tested positive for COVID-19.  She was charged with throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer and second-degree terroristic threats.
  • On March 17, Nicole A. Ayvaz,  23, was arrested in Belleville and charged with false public alarm for allegedly calling emergency dispatchers and claiming she had the coronavirus to try to get Essex County College to close. She did not have the virus.
  • On March 20, Shaul Kuperwasser, 43, was charged with maintaining a nuisance for holding a wedding in Lakewood the previous day, March 19, in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings.
  • On March 20, Eliyohu S. Zaks, 49, was charged with maintaining a nuisance for holding a wedding in Lakewood in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings.
  • On March 20, Zachary Hagin, 33, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, and endangering for allegedly spitting on a police officer in Gloucester Township and claiming to have the coronavirus.
  • On March 20, Marina N. Bishara-Rhone, 22, allegedly coughed directly on an officer during a domestic violence incident in River Edge, saying she had the virus and she hoped he was now infected.  She was charged with endangering and throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer.
  • On March 21, Jacquon Jones, 37, was charged with disorderly conduct for holding a large party in Penns Grove in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings.
  • On March 21, David Haley, 52, was charged in Middlesex County with throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer and second-degree terroristic threats.  He claimed to be infected with the coronavirus.
  • On March 24, Adrienne Morris, 34, was charged in Gloucester Township after she allegedly went to the home of another woman and assaulted her. She was charged with aggravated assault, harassment, and a disorderly persons offense for violating the stay at home order. —Correction by AG Office
  • On March 22, in Waterford, Carmen J. Fasanella, 25, was charged after he allegedly went out drinking with a friend and crashed his car. He was charged with DWI, reckless driving, and a disorderly persons offense for violating the stay at home order.–Correction by AG Office
  • On March 24, George Falcone, 50, was charged with terroristic threats, obstruction, and harassment for allegedly purposely coughing on an employee at the Wegmans store in Manalapan and refusing to cooperate with a police officer.
  • 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.
  • On March 24 in Lakewood, police charged Meir T. Gruskin, 37, with a disorderly persons offense for holding a wedding at his home in violation of the emergency orders.
  • On March 24,  the Jersey City Police Department charged multiple individuals who were loitering as a group outside an apartment building.  Three juveniles were charged with defiant trespass, failure to disperse, and disorderly persons offenses related to the emergency orders.
  • On March 25, Karley A. Rosell, 24, of Pitman, was charged in a domestic violence incident with leaving her home and allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at her boyfriend’s residence.  It did not detonate. She was charged with arson and weapons offenses, as well as a disorderly persons offense for violating the stay at home order.
  • On March 25 in Lakewood, police charged Abraham Bursztyn, 48, with maintaining a nuisance, in violation of the emergency order prohibiting large gatherings, for holding a gathering of approximately 25 young men at the school where he is headmaster.
  • On March 25, Raymond Ricciardi, 51, was arrested in New Providence on domestic violence charges.  He allegedly stated that he was infected with the coronavirus and started to cough at police and medical personnel. He was charged with obstruction and harassment.
  • On March 25, in Lakewood, Juan Gomez Sanchez was charged with a disorderly persons offense for purposely coughing at a liquor store and claiming he was infected with the coronavirus.
  • On March 26, police in Washington Township, Warren County, charged David Merring, 62, owner of Rack and Roll Billiards Hall, with obstruction of the administration of law for keeping his business open in violation of the emergency order. He was previously warned about opening during the emergency and closed down. He re-opened and had customers inside when police arrived.
  • On March 27, Piscataway Police charged four individuals, Yu Han, 20, Xiaonuo Shi, 18, Chenyu Yang, 19, and Roukai Wang, 19, with disorderly persons offenses for violating the emergency orders and criminal mischief for allegedly drag racing and doing donuts in a school parking lot.
  • On March 27, in Hazlet, state troopers charged Travis Urban, 30, with obstruction and hindering apprehension or prosecution for allegedly falsely claiming he had the coronavirus to try to avoid charges after being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
  • On March 26, Lakewood Police charged William Katzenstein, 39, with a disorderly persons offense for holding a wedding in violation of the emergency order.
  • On March 27, police charged Pria Milledge, 37, with a disorderly persons offense for holding a party in Bridgeton in violation of the order prohibiting large gatherings.

 If you are seeing a lack of compliance in your town, please contact your local police department or report here The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS. 

USA Just Shy Of 100,000 Cases of COVID-19 Set To Pass 100k Today, New Jersey At 8,825, Ocean County 557 With Lakewood At 236

March 27, 2020


97,028 Cases of COVID-19 in the USA as of the 2:54 pm update and set to go over 100k later this afternoon as tests come in. Keep up with the latest numbers at the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Tracker Here

4:02 pm tracker update 97,226 cases in the USA

New Jersey:

We have 1,982 new positive #COVID19 cases, bringing our total to 8,825.
• Atlantic: 14
• Bergen: 1,505
• Burlington: 88
• Camden: 95
• Cumberland: 9
• Cape May: 7
• Essex: 826
• Gloucester: 40
• Hudson: 594
• Hunterdon: 52
• Mercer: 131
• Middlesex: 640
• Monmouth: 634
• Morris: 391
• Ocean: 484
• Passaic: 484
• Salem: 3
• Somerset: 222
• Sussex: 65
• Union: 519
• Warren: 38
• Under Investigation: 1,984

As of 1:30 PM, COVID-19 statewide stats:
• Positive Tests: 8,825
• Deaths: 108

For updates:

Covid-19 Total Cases (557) In Ocean County:

Total as of Friday 3/27/2020 at 2:00pm

Town NameNumber of Cases
Barnegat Light2
Bay Head1
Beach Haven0
Harvey Cedars0
Island Heights1
Little Egg Harbor5
Long Beach Township2
Ocean Gate1
Ocean Twp. (Waretown)3
Pine Beach0
Point Pleasant Beach2
Point Pleasant Borough20
Seaside Heights1
Seaside Park1
Ship Bottom2
South Toms River5
Surf City1
Toms River69
Total Positive Cases: 557

Mercer County: Mercer: 131

A letter from County Executive Brian M. Hughes

As the coronavirus response continues full force, I want to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt gratitude to our many citizens who are on the front line of this daily battle.

Our heroic first responders and health care professionals have been working around the clock to keep people safe. Others on the front line, who can’t work from home and are putting themselves at risk to keep our communities functioning, include drug store clerks, supermarket cashiers, people preparing and delivering food, and many more.

State, county and local governments have closed their doors to the public but continue to provide vital services, especially to our most vulnerable populations.

I commend all of you for rising to the occasion day in and day out during this public health emergency, and I applaud your commitment to continuing this effort.

We don’t know how long this crisis will last. We do know that to slow the spread of infection, especially among high-risk groups, and to take the pressure off our health care system, we need to follow the Governor’s directive to stay home if at all possible, and to practice social distancing when we must go out. Those at higher risk – older adults and people with existing health problems – depend on everyone else to stay safe.

We also need to continue taking everyday preventive measures such as frequent hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

I thank each of you for the sacrifices you’re making to help slow the spread of COVID-19. If we all work together, we WILL get through this crisis. Brian M. Hughes
Mercer County Executive

The New Jersey Department of Health today announced that there are now 131 positive cases of COVID-19 in Mercer County. Mercer County releases no identifiers other than the number of cases, and does not tally by municipality. Contact tracing, including information gathering, is underway on the new cases and continuing on the remaining ones where needed. We expect that these numbers will continue to grow as more testing sites come online. For data specific to a municipality, please contact the local health office.

Mercer County continues to recommend basic steps for residents. Whether you are ill or not, adhere to the Governor’s Executive Order and stay home. If you must leave your home, practice social distancing. Wash your hands. Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the State to provide information to the Public on COVID-19:
Call: 2-1-1
Call (24/7): 1-800-962-1253
Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
Text: your  ZIP code to 898-211 for live text assistance


NJ Guard helps state, local officials with COVID-19 response

March 27, 2020

By Master Sgt. Matt Hecht | New Jersey National Guard

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – More than 150 New Jersey National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are helping screen people for COVID-19 at multiple drive-thru testing facilities in the state.

Guard medics, transportation and military police specialists are supporting testing.

“Expanding access to testing is critical in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve in New Jersey,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “I am grateful to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their swift response in fulfilling our request for specimen collection kits and personal protective equipment so that we can successfully offer expansive drive-thru testing in New Jersey.”

Soldiers from the 508th Military Police Company, 143rd Transportation Company, 250th Brigade Support Battalion, and Airmen with the 108th Wing and 177th Fighter Wing, were activated and are operating under Joint Task Force 57, run by 57th Troop Command.

“The testing of residents is a mission the New Jersey National Guard is ready to assist with in the battle against COVID-19,” said Brig. Gen. Jemal J. Beale, the adjutant general and commissioner, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Our Citizen-Soldiers and Airmen stand ready to serve where ever the governor needs us.

The Guard members are spread out at multiple sites, providing medical assistance and directing traffic in partnership with FEMA, the New Jersey Department of Health and New Jersey State Police.

“You know, it feels good, it’s what we sign up for,” said 1st Lt. David Robone, commander of the 508th Military Police Company. “I’ve got a great group of men and women who put on this uniform and have answered the call, and are always willing and able to. To be able to go out and help the community at a time like this is something that we’re all proud of.

“We want to help to end this before it gets worse,” said Spc. Thomas Brennan, a military policeman. “It feels great to help out the state, and hopefully, we can be a part of making sure more people get tested and treated.”

“Let’s all remember that we are America,” said Murphy. “We’re the country that never leaves the fallen soldier injured or killed on the battlefield. We always go back, including putting lives at risk to get that fallen soldier. That is America. That is what we stand for. That is our value system, and that is New Jersey. We will fight to save every single life, and there is no cost too high associated with that.”

New Jersey Air National Guard medics with the 108th Wing process specimens at a COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Site at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., March 23, 2020. The testing site, established in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is staffed by the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey State Police, and the New Jersey National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht)

Reserve Sailors Deploy Aboard USNS Comfort

March 27, 2020

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Craig Rodarte and Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Van Nuys, Commander, Navy Reserve Force Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) — Ready to answer the nation’s call, Navy Reserve Sailors reported to the Military Sealift Command’s hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) March 25, to support the ship’s upcoming medical relief mission to New York City.

Preparing for the ship’s COVID-19 response deployment, Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command selected more than 120 volunteers from a group of Navy Reserve medical professionals and other ratings to embark on the ship in support of the upcoming mission.

“Right now, medical centers are doing everything they can to help their communities,” said Lt. Derek Hinkley, selected from Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) White River Junction, New Hampshire, to support the response effort. “I see this mission as an opportunity to do what we can to help, in whatever way we can.”

This was the second short-fused request for reserve support on a Navy hospital ship as nearly 60 Reserve Sailors departed Wednesday on the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in support of the COVID-19 response efforts in Los Angeles.

Comfort will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore-based hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases.

One of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people.

“The sheer strength of what the ship can do, from all the cat scans, to full operating rooms and how fast it can be there to support different areas is awesome,” said Yeoman 1st Class Chad Williams, who traveled from NOSC Washington D.C. “This mission is important because it shows that we are not only doing humanitarian missions outside of the U.S., but that we support missions inside the country as well.”

The ability to rapidly provide support to missions like the Comfort’s is a key purpose of the continual training and mobilization readiness efforts of the Navy Reserve, but the motivated responses from the volunteer Sailors was remarkable.

Rear Adm. John Schommer, deputy commander for Commander, Navy Reserve Force, says the response to the call for volunteers was humbling.

“We diligently ensured our volunteer reservists are available to support the medical relief efforts without impacting their local and state communities,” said Schommer. “When we were asked to help find medical professionals to help support this mission, we received hundreds of volunteer requests from our reserve medical community in less than 24 hours.”

Another volunteer, Chief Hospital Corpsman Robert Willis, from NOSC Charlotte, stressed the importance of the response effort. “Supporting this national mission and helping to contain this virus is important,” said Willis. “I want to help in whatever way I can to make sure it gets eradicated.”

The Navy Reserve prides itself on being a ready, agile force providing valuable and vital support to the Navy and the Nation. Today, the Reserve force consists of 59,641 Selected Reserve Sailors (including 10,153 Full Time Support members) 43,754 Individual Ready Reserve members and 422 civilians. The Navy Reserve team, over 100,000 strong, delivers strategic depth and operational capability to the Navy and Marine Corps team and Joint Forces in times of peace and war. 

For U.S. Navy COVID-19 updates, visit

For more Reserve information about COVID-19, visit
For more information about COVID-19, visit

NORFOLK (March 25, 2020) Navy Reserve Sailors prepare to board the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). More than 120 Reserve volunteers were selected to support Comfort’s upcoming deployment to New York City. Comfort is preparing to deploy in support of the nation™s COVID-19 response efforts and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows shore-based hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. One of the Department of Defense™s missions is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DoD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities in helping protect the health and safety of the American people. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Craig Z. Rodarte)