Police in New Jersey have arrested three people for violating the state’s social distancing rules after authorities spent hours breaking up a 700-person party at an Airbnb mansion.
The party took place in Jackson Township at a mansion that had been rented out for $795-a-night on Airbnb on Sunday night.
Jackson Police say they first started receiving reports from concerned neighbors about the party at about 8.30pm.
When they arrived at the home, they found a large crowd at the property.
Officers contacted the owner of the home, 40-year-old Yaakov Weiss, who said he had rented his property out for the purposes of a party.
Weiss told police that he left the property when about 200 people had shown up.
Police said the party eventually grew to host about 700 people and 100 cars could be found parked near the mansion.
The party was advertised on Instagram with a flyer calling the event the Liberian Independence Day party.
The flyer promised a twerking contest, free food and jungle juice.
Footage on Instagram that appeared to be taken inside the party showed people dancing and drinking within close proximity to each other.
Instagram stories bemoaned the party being broken up by police.
Police spent five hours trying to break up the party and were forced to call for back up from neighboring law enforcement departments.
Officers say they were forced to shut down nearby streets in a bid to stop even more partygoers, who were still arriving, from turning up at the mansion.
The party was cleared by 1am, according to police.
Police arrested the homeowner, as well as party organizers – Patience Guanue, 23, and Alicia Hinneh, 22 – for violating New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy’s executive order limiting large gatherings due to coronavirus.
Murphy addressed the ordeal during his regular COVID-19 briefing on Monday, saying: ‘C’mon folks! C’mon! By the way putting the health of police at risk here as well.’
He acknowledged that gatherings were being driven ‘underground’ because he wasn’t allowing bars or indoor dining to reopen.
‘These are overwhelmingly gatherings of young people…but there is a big concern that a young person can get it and go home or go visit grandma and grandpa and pass this on unwillingly,’ Murphy said.