The president of the Skylands Tea Party, William J. Hayden, said the local police chief warned he would be arrested if he went ahead with a protest at the county-owned Newton Green on Saturday.
If Hayden moves forward anyway — he was noncommittal in an interview Thursday — it might be the first protest in New Jersey targeting the directives from Murphy, a Democrat. Protests against stay-at-home orders have taken place in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah, according to CNN.
Murphy has closed state and county parks and banned public gatherings in an attempt to the limit the spread of the coronavirus — which as of Thursday afternoon had claimed 3,518 lives in New Jersey, including 26 at a nursing home four miles from the Newton Green.
Hayden told NJ Advance Media that he had planned to gather with 10 to 20 others on the Newton Green, all standing at least 6 feet apart, while live-streaming a reading of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He said he opposes closing the parks, in addition to other restrictions imposed by Murphy.