New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy again denounced the behavior of partygoers in the state, this time citing a recent house party that drew more than 1,000 guests and resulted in eight arrests.
“It was irresponsible from top to bottom in every respect,” Murphy said during a press conference Wednesday, calling the party, which was held on Monday night, an “egregious display of knucklehead behavior.”
The governor explained that young people can have fun — but must continue social distancing and wearing masks, as the US struggles to contain the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Since mid-August, the percent positivity rate among 14-18 year-olds has grown from 3% to 7%, while for 19-24 year-olds it’s risen from 2.7% to 7.1%, said state health commissioner Judy Persichilli.
“We are continuing to see case numbers climb among young people,” she said. “Many of these cases and clusters are a result of parties and social gatherings.”
Murphy made similar comments in late July, after it took police officers over 5 hours to break up a party with over 700 attendees.
“Come on folks! Come on,” Murphy said at the time. “That’s needlessly putting men and women in uniform and their families at risk.”
Monday’s party took place at a New Jersey boardwalk house featured in MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
A group of YouTube pranksters, known as the Nelk Boys, organized a promotional event at the house, according to Seaside Heights Police Detective Steve Korman. The party was dispersed at about 9:30 p.m.
The Nelk Boys, who are from Toronto, currently have more than 5.73 million subscribers, according to their YouTube page.
The eight people arrested at the “Jersey Shore” house are between the ages of 18 and 26. Charges included disorderly conduct, obstruction, and resisting arrest, Seaside Heights police said in a press release.
Police also said that “glass bottles and rocks were thrown at officers during and after the arrest” of at least one of the eight people.
“I’m totally disgusted,” Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz said. “We would never recognize this type of activity in our community.”
The town’s bureau administrator, Christopher Vaz, also told CNN that there was no special event application or municipal approvals of any kind regarding the gathering and that the majority of attendees appeared to be “high school-aged kids.”
“Jersey Shore” member and longtime house owner Danny Merk said he took responsibility for the incident.
“The police handled it perfectly,” Merk said. “It just became crazy.”
The “Nelk Boys” did not respond immediately to CNN’s requests for comment.
As of Wednesday, New Jersey has had 197,792 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 16,054 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.