Authorities in New York ordered the cancellation of a wedding that could have brought together more than 10,000 people in violation of rules to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
Multiple news reports, including in the New York Times, New York Post and Daily Beast, indicated the location of the planned wedding was a synagogue belonging to the Satmar Hasidic sect.
The Rockland County sheriff’s office warned authorities about the wedding planned for Monday in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
“We received a suggestion that that was happening, did an investigation, found that it was likely that it was true. There was a large wedding planned that would violate the gathering rules,” Cuomo told a news conference.
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 percent of its capacity.
Elizabeth Garvey, an adviser to Cuomo, told reporters that “more than 10,000 people planned to attend” the wedding.
“You can get married. You just can’t get a thousand people at your wedding. You get the same results at the end of the day. It’s also cheaper!” Cuomo said.
New York was the epicenter of the US COVID-19 outbreak back in the spring, and the city has seen more than 23,800 related deaths.
The city managed to bring the crisis under control by having people stay home, but in recent weeks the proportion of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has gone up, especially in districts with large communities of Orthodox Jews.
Last week Cuomo ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in these districts and limited to 10 the number of people who can be in temples at the same time. Schools also closed.
Cuomo said Saturday the measures are showing good results.
However they also led to mass protests in Borough Park, with Jewish religious leaders complaining of being singled out.
One protest leader was arrested and charged with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment after a small mob surrounded and allegedly assaulted a journalist covering the protests.
Local residents in Borough Par have said some yeshivas are operating despite school closure orders.