- Officials from New Jersey and New York slammed Rep. Matt Gaetz for attending a mask-less gala on Thursday with 150 people convening in close proximity in a restaurant.
- New Jersey Mayor Steven Fulop shut down the Maritime Parc, the restaurant that hosted the event, on Friday.
- The event was an annual gala for the New York Young Republicans Club that was originally supposed to be held in a Manhattan venue, which declined to host the event.
- The governors of both New Jersey and New York rebuked Gaetz for attending the event, with one of them calling for the Florida representative to never return to New Jersey.
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New York and New Jersey officials are disturbed that a Republican club on Thursday hosted a gala with 150 mask-less people in attendance, including Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
A day after the event, New Jersey Mayor Steven Fulop shut down the Maritime Parc, the restaurant that hosted the gala, according to a statement. Fulop ordered the restaurant to close indefinitely after photos circulated on social media showing mask-less attendees, including Gaetz, smiling and packed close together indoors.
The event was an annual gala thrown by the New York Young Republicans Club.
Fulop said the restaurant will remain closed until the owners create a viable plan detailing how they will comply with coronavirus-related restrictions and mandates. The plan must be submitted to and reviewed by the state’s health department.
“In Jersey City, we take Covid enforcement very seriously, and this event appears to be an egregious violation of the governor’s executive orders, including capacity limitations and mandatory mask wearing,” Fulop said in a statement to Business Insider. “This event blatantly disregards the protections put in place to safeguard the community from further contagion and has put Jersey City and countless others at serious risk.”
The gala took place as New Jersey continues to hit record-high rates of positive coronavirus cases.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy slammed Gaetz immediately after the event.
“It is beyond the pale that anyone would willingly endanger people in another state,” Murphy tweeted. “It is also beyond the pale that Rep. Matt Putz â€” I mean Rep. Matt Gaetz â€” would participate in this. What a fool.”
“Matt,” Murphy said, “You are not welcome in New Jersey, and frankly I don’t ever want you back in this state.”
Gaetz, a fierce ally to President Donald Trump, fired back at Murphy: “You’re gonna regret this tweet when you move to Florida like the rest of New Jersey,” he tweeted.
He also appeared to call for people to protest the restrictions in New Jersey.
Should we organize a “peaceful protest” of lockdowns in New Jersey?
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 5, 2020
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, where the event was first scheduled to take place, called Gaetz “irresponsible” and said his actions “encourage people to break laws.”
“They violated New Jersey’s laws and Gov. Murphy is right to point it out,” Cuomo said.
The New York Young Republicans Club fled to New Jersey after a Manhattan venue reportedly declined to host the event.
Gavin Wax, the president of the organisation, said it had been the plan all along to host the event at the New Jersey restaurant, the Daily Beast reported.
“New Jersey has way more lax rules. It’s been in New Jersey for a while,” Wax said. “We saw we can do 150 people in New Jersey vs 50 people in New York and it made more sense.”
But a spokesperson for the Maritime Parc told multiple outlets that the event was a “last-minute booking.”
In addition to Gaetz, James O’Keefe, the founder of far-right activist group Project Veritas, attended the event.
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