New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) speaks at the Coronavirus press conference in Trenton, New Jersey.
Michael Brochstein | Barcroft Media | Getty Images
The New York Young Republican Club hosted a grand indoor gala in Jersey City on Thursday night with little to no mask or social distancing that was heavily criticized by the New Jersey governor on Friday.
"Last night, @NYYRC allegedly snuck into Jersey City for a 'gala fundraiser' – ignoring our social distancing and masking rules," New Jersey Democratic Governor Phil Murphy said on Twitter. "It is beyond the pale that someone would willingly endanger people in another state."
The controversial event took place as the US reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases, current hospitalizations and one-day deaths on Thursday, suggesting the national virus crisis is only accelerating.
Governor Murphy said, "Jersey City law enforcement is investigating this matter."
"The gala was held in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including capacity restrictions," said Gavin Wax, president of NYYRC, in an email. "All contrary proposals and legal threats are made maliciously and politically motivated. As far as we know, the first amendment has not been repealed."
The Metropolitan Republican Club personally hosted a Christmas party. At least 50 guests attended the pandonavirus pandemic (COVID-19) event on December 3, 2020 in Manhattan, New York City, USA.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The NYYRC originally said the annual gala would be held at the Caldwell Factory in Manhattan. The planned event was criticized by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Council members. The NYYRC then scrapped the venue and refused to reveal where the gala would take place.
Later pictures and videos posted on social media revealed that the event was held at Maritime Parc in Jersey City. New Jersey allows indoor gatherings of up to 150 people for religious and political activities, which are protected by the First Amendment. However, attendees at indoor events are required to wear face coverings and remain part of six feet, which was not the case at the gala.
Wax told Gothamist that the gala "had exactly 150 guests," but when asked by CNBC to confirm the number, he said in an email, "That's the legal limit. We were below. We are not each other sure what final number was actually on since we had some no shows. "
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop issued an administrative order on Friday to close Maritime Parc "until operators create and submit a written operational plan … detailing how they intend to comply with Governor Phil Murphy's executive orders. .. in relation to capacity mandates and masks. "
A spokesperson for Maritime Parc confirmed that the number of staff at the event was within the allocated capacity under current government restrictions. "All guests had to wear masks when entering and leaving the event space. While we cannot enforce the proposed guidelines on social distancing at larger gatherings, all guests were informed when entering the event," the spokesman said in a statement.
"The New Jersey State Police had visited prior to the event to ensure compliance and review the rules / regulations," the statement said. "Maritime Parc will assist the investigation in any way necessary and is ready to help."
Attendees for the gala included keynote speaker James O & # 39; Keefe, founder of far-right group Project Veritas, and Florida Rep Matt Gaetz, who wore a gas mask on the floor of the house in March while talking about laws in support of Covid voted.
Rep. Gaetz's office did not respond when asked if the congressman had quarantined himself under New Jersey guidelines prior to showing up at the event. New Jersey requires travelers from outside the immediate area to self-isolate for at least 14 days. Gaetz spoke on Friday without a mask on the floor of the house.
"Matt – you're not welcome in New Jersey, and honestly, I never want you to be like that again," Governor Murphy said on Twitter.
Gaetz took the place of the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who was originally intended as a participant, but withdrew from the event.
Mayor Fulop said on Twitter that "JC law enforcement will visit Maritime Parc if AM + follows appropriate steps under NJ law."
Jersey City Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.