COVID Crackdown: Hoboken passes house party fine ordinance

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ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, November 5, 2020
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Toni Yates reports from Hoboken where the city council passed an ordinance that would fine people for having house parties and indoor gatherings of more than 25 people.

HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- The Hoboken City Council passed an ordinance that would fine people for having house parties and indoor gatherings of more than 25 people.

The ordinance applies to indoor gatherings that are not religious services or celebrations, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals, or memorial services.

Those activities are limited to 25% of the capacity of the room in which it takes place, but regardless of capacity, it must never be larger than 100 persons or smaller than 10 persons.

The owner of the premises and any tenant can be held responsible for any gathering found to be in violation, when also found in violation of city code or state laws including disturbing the peace, disorderly house, or noise ordinances.

The fine for the violation ranges from $250 up to $1,000. Both the owner and the resident can be fined as applicable, the city says.

The city council passed the House Party bill unanimously and also passed a second ordinance ensuring that it will go into effect immediately.

"The need is clear as Halloween weekend the Hoboken Police Department broke up 27 house parties. So, while it would have been better to have the ordinance on the books for Halloween weekend, I am pleased that this new, important enforcement mechanism is on the books now to better protect our community from the spread of COVID-19," Hoboken Councilman Phil Cohen said.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla issued an executive order last Thursday, closing all bars and restaurants at midnight seven days a week.

The intention, the order says, is "to limit situations when social distancing and other precautions are much less likely to be followed."

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