A New Jersey man described as a "knucklehead" by Gov. Phil Murphy is facing serious charges after allegedly coughing on a supermarket worker. Authorities say that after the Wegmans employee expressed concern that George Falcone was standing too close to her and a display of prepared foods, he moved even closer, purposefully coughed, then "laughed and said he was infected with the coronavirus," NJ.com reports. He also told two other employees at the Manalapan store they were "lucky to have jobs," authorities say. A police detective working security at the store refused to let Falcone leave until he had identified himself, the Daily Voice reports.
"There are knuckleheads out there. We see them and we are enforcing behavior," Murphy said at a news briefing Thursday. Falcone, 50, has been charged with making terroristic threats, harassment, and obstruction. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal says authorities will "respond swiftly and strongly whenever someone commits a criminal offense that uses the coronavirus to generate panic or discord." "These are extremely difficult times in which all of us are called upon to be considerate of each other—not to engage in intimidation and spread fear, as alleged in this case," Grewal says. (Read more New Jersey stories.)