Health officials in the New York borough of Brooklyn shut down what was expected to be a 10,000 person wedding planned for Monday. The massive event was located near one of the city’s COVID-19 hotspots.
The New York Times reports that Dr. Howard A. Zucker, the state health commissioner, issued a rare Section 16 order, which, if violated can lead to a daily fine of $10,000. The state has issued dozens of such orders since the pandemic hit in March.
The massive wedding was set to take place at the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar, a Hasidic synagogue. A representative from the synagogue told the outlet that the ceremony and accompanying meal was meant only for “close family members”, while larger numbers of the public would have been invited to celebrate “for a short period of time.”
They added that the wedding will go on, but only to a limited number of close family members.
“It’s sad that nobody verified our plans before attacking us,” Chaim Jacobowitz, the congregation’s secretary, said in a statement.
New York state governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that large weddings were too risky and the one planned for today could have turned into a superspreader event.
Since the start of the pandemic, hundreds of large events across Canada - from concerts, to festivals to conferences - have been cancelled or postponed as a measure to slow the spread of the virus.
Most regions across the countries have tight restrictions on large gatherings, particularly in hotspots. In Ontario, the limit is 25 people at outdoor events. In B.C., events with more than 50 people can earn a fine of $2,000. In Quebec, gatherings are forbidden in so-called red-zones, while outside those areas, events of up to 25 people are permitted.
In September, 23 COVID-19 cases were traced to a large Toronto wedding that took place in August, at several different locations, including private residences and a temple.
Despite the severe restrictions, regular large protests in different cities are going ahead, to decry the policy on masks. On Saturday, about 1,000 people gathered at Vancouver’s art gallery to oppose the lockdown and use of masks.