Manalapan grocery store staff member anxious that George Falcone was standing too close to her and a food stand open around 6:30 p.m. Sunday - and asked her to step back, prosecutor said General of the State, Gurbir S. Grewal, in a press release.
A subsequent investigation resulted in summonses being issued, charging Falcone with making terroristic threats, harassment and obstructing administration of law.
"Instead, Falcone allegedly stepped forward to within 3 feet of her, leaned toward her, and purposely coughed", the office said.More news: Roger Federer donates 1m Swiss francs to help 'vulnerable families in Switzerland'
A local police officer was working security detail at the store and approached the accused.
"In effect, the order ensures that financial services professionals who live in New Jersey, but who ordinarily work in NY or another state, can work from home or from a New Jersey office, as stay-at-home and social-distancing policies adopted by governors across the region to combat the spread of Covid-19 have made it harder for commuters to work from their usual offices", according to the press release.
"These are extremely hard 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", said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
However, in a Facebook message on Tuesday, Falcone denied the accusations, saying, 'Didn't cough on anyone and never mentioned corona'. "In times like these, we need to find ways to pull together as a community instead of committing acts that further divide us", said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.More news: Google Podcasts App May Be Coming Soon to iOS With Refreshed Design
Nationwide, the coronavirus, which broke out late previous year in Wuhan, China, has infected almost 50,000 people and killed 640, with more than a quarter of the deaths in NY state.
As similar coughing incident unfolded in Pennsylvania last week.
George Falcone, 50, was charged with terroristic threats, obstruction and harassment over an alleged confrontation with an employee at a Wegmans market in New Jersey.
Grocery stores such as Wegmans are exempt from the order.More news: Over 170,000 volunteer to help United Kingdom fight coronavirus
That man was wearing the protective gear also in part because he was recovering from pneumonia. They allege that Tabussi mocked the man for wearing a mask and told him that he was infected with the coronavirus.