Birthday drive-by parades that have become wildly popular as a way to celebrate birthdays during quarantine should stop, the Sparta Police Department announced on its Facebook page. And on Friday, in his daily news briefing, Governor Murphy said drive-by parades are touching and emotional but that everyone should be very careful.

“I don’t think there’s one quick answer on that,” Murphy said. “But I think we have to be very careful because we want people to stay at home. Even if you’re in a car by yourself, you are going out. And I think we have to do this in moderation.”

virtual birthday partyAt home quarantine birthday photo by Michelle Shuey

Sparta Police went further to announce that “Sparta Emergency Response Units (Police, Fire, Ambulance) will no longer participate in individual celebratory processions within and across Sparta Township,” according to its Facebook page. “Additionally, residents are encouraged to follow Executive Order 107, as released by Governor Murphy.”

That executive order says that all NJ residents should stay home unless they are:

–buying something from an essential retail business
–picking up a takeout meal
–seeking medical attention, social services or help from the police or emergency services
–“visiting family or other individuals with whom the resident has a close personal relationship, such as those for whom the individual is a caretaker or romantic partner”
–reporting to an essential job
–going outside for fresh air while maintaining the proper social distance
–“leaving the home for an educational, religious, or political reason”
–“leaving because of a reasonable fear for his or her health or safety”
–“leaving at the direction of law enforcement or other government agency.”

Officials throughout the state have said that they don’t want people hanging out outside, even if they’re far apart since that defeats the purpose of the Governor’s stay-at-home orders. 

So what can you do if your child has a quarantine birthday coming up? There are plenty of ways to celebrate safely with loved ones. Instead of a birthday drive-by, plan a Zoom hangout or ask friends to participate in a birthday call or Facetime chain. Friends can also send videos to the birthday child which you can then show as part of a celebratory montage.

Michelle Shuey, the founder and chief party planner at The Effortless Affair, an event planning company in North Jersey, recently shared her daughter’s birthday quarantine party details. The festivities included a visit from Cinderella via Zoom, a balloon drop inside her home, cake baking and coloring. Check out Quarantine Birthday: How I Threw My Daughter’s Party for all the party details.