Extra measures are being taken to tighten restrictions on large indoor gatherings at rental properties after Gov. Phil Murphy said an increase in COVID-19 cases is linked to house parties.
On Friday, Murphy reported 699 new cases, the highest number of single-day cases in the state reported in more than a month. While he didn’t make any major announcements at his COVID-19 news briefing, he said to consider the state “as being put on notice.”
“We will not tolerate these devil-may-care, nonchalant attitudes anymore,” he said. “Wear a mask. Stop hosting house parties. Now.”
Locally, one party on Long Beach Island led to an outbreak among Harvey Cedars lifeguards, sidelining nearly three dozen. A graduation party in Cape May County in late June led to 46 COVID-19 cases among New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents from the ages of 16 to 23.
The state, particularly South Jersey, has seen a slight uptick in new COVID-19 cases as it h…
In response to Murphy’s declaration that indoor house parties must end, real estate agents are enacting stricter measures to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors.
The city of Brigantine has an ordinance that states the city can take action on a landlord if it receives more than two complaints with regard to “disorderly or riotous conduct” at a rental property in a 12-month period.
“The municipality has really tightened on that pre-COVID,” said Angela Reynolds of Weichert Realtors in Brigantine. “Since COVID, it’s been the Realtor’s responsibility to be certain that that’s really what’s going on. From our office specifically, we’re very diligent in checking out the tenants, shying away from things that appear to be a younger group, not to be discriminatory, but bachelor parties … that kind of thing, or something that would lend itself to adding more and more people (indoors).”
She said the ordinance started out as “an annoyance factor” and to ensure “peacefulness in neighborhoods.”
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And since the pandemic, Weichert is stressing the ordinance even more.
“Between the municipality and each individual office, I think it really has become a priority for us to do a higher screening factor and take everyone’s safety into consideration,” Reynolds said.
On Friday, Airbnb suspended or removed 35 listings in New Jersey that have received complaints or violated the online renting platform’s policies on parties and events.
Some of those listings were in Atlantic City, Brigantine, Stafford Township and Ventnor. The addresses of the listings were not provided out of respect for the privacy of the hosts.
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“We stand with Gov. Murphy, and we support his call to action to stop parties and promote behavior that respects the public’s health,” said Chris Lehane, senior vice president of global policy & communications for Airbnb. “We ban party houses and will not tolerate irresponsible behavior on our platform. We know that there is still more work to be done. We ask that neighbors contact us as soon as possible through our Neighborhood Support Hotline, to directly communicate any concerns, which will help us continue to effectively enforce our party house ban.”
Additionally, Airbnb recently implemented restrictions on some U.S. guests under the age of 25 from booking entire home listings in their local area, unless they have a history of positive reviews on the website.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.