New York authorities halt wedding expected to bring in 10,000 guests amid pandemic
TORONTO -- New York officials have halted a wedding that was expected to draw 10,000 guests amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed on Saturday during a press briefing that state officials received word of the wedding after the Rockland County Sheriff's Office issued a warning against attending the event.
Officials warned that the planned event, which was scheduled for Monday in Williamsburg, was in violation of the state's coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings.
"We received a suggestion that that was happening. We did an investigation and found that it was likely true," Cuomo said during the press briefing.
Beth Garvey, special counsel and senior adviser to the governor, told reporters during the briefing that "the information that our investigation revealed was that upwards of 10,000 individuals were planned to attend."
New York's rules for stemming the spread of COVID-19 limit social gatherings to no more than 50 people. For religious events inside a church or temple, the limit is 33 per cent of the venue's capacity.
In response to the massive wedding, New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker signed an order barring the event on Friday night.
The wedding ceremony was reportedly for a grandchild of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, a prominent rabbi of the Satmar sect in New York's Orthodox community, and was set to take place at the Yetev Lev D'Satmar synagogue.
The synagogue's congregation announced on Sunday that the event will no longer go ahead as planned. According to CBS2, a statement from the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar said the wedding will only be open to "close family members."
The congregation said the wedding was planned with "COVID-19 regulations in mind," and "appropriate guidelines" will be followed.
Cuomo said officials will continue to monitor the situation into Monday.
"Look, you can get married. You just can’t have 10,000 people at your wedding," Cuomo said. "You get the same result at the end of the day. You’re married. It's also cheaper."
New York City was the epicentre of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak in the spring, and the city has since seen more than 33,300 COVID-19-related deaths, according to a global tally kept by John's Hopkins University.
The city has managed to bring the crisis under control with lockdowns, but the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surged in recent weeks.
Last week, Cuomo ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in the worst-hit areas of N.Y.C. and also forced schools to close.
The governor said in his briefing that these measures were already showing results in limiting the spread of the virus.