4/20 marijuana party busted in New York City over failure to maintain social distancing

By AARON KATERSKY, MARK CRUDELE AND ELLA TORRES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Police in New York City broke up a “4/20” party in Manhattan on Monday not for the weed, but for failing to maintain social distancing under the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York City Police Department.

Officers with the NYPD were called to the party after receiving a tip that the revelers were not practicing social distancing, a temporary requirement in the city to help curb the virus’ spread. Police said they found people gathered on the third floor of a vacant commercial building on West 23rd Street, in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan, at around 4:20 p.m. smoking marijuana and not staying 6 feet away from one another.

Thirty-eight people — 31 men and five women — were issued summonses for criminal trespassing, according to police. There were no citations ordered specifically regarding social distancing.

Police said in addition to marijuana found at the scene, pills, edibles, money and bottles of bootleg alcohol were also found and recovered.

The party was dubbed “Animal House Party 5” on Instagram and promoted throughout social media, according to police.

Social distancing, the practice of keeping 6 feet away from others, has been in place in New York for weeks, where there are at least 247,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, statewide.

In New York City alone, at least 14,604 people have died as a result of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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