New York State health officials have taken extraordinary steps to close an ultra-orthodox wedding planned for Monday that could have brought 10,000 guests to Brooklyn near one of New York City’s coronovirus hot spots.
The state’s health commissioner personally intervened that sheriff’s deputies order the Hasidic synagogue on Friday, warning that it must follow health protocols, including limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people.
On Sunday, the synagogue, the congregation Yetv Lev Dismar, accused state officials of “inappropriate attacks” at the wedding, where a grandson of the synagogue’s rabbi, Zalman Leib Tetilbaum, was to be married. The congregation said that ceremonies and meals would be limited to only “close family members”, while the public would only be invited to participate “for a short time”.
The wedding will continue, the synagogue said, but will be limited to a small group of family members. “It is sad that no one verified our plans before attacking us,” the chamber’s secretary, Chaim Jacobowitz, said in a statement.
State Health Commissioner, Drs. Howard A. Zucker took the rare step of issuing in person, known as the section 16 order, which could lead to a daily fine of $ 10,000 if a violation occurred. The state has issued dozens of Section 16 orders during the epidemic.
Dr. Zucker took swift steps in releasing it because of concerns the state’s first normal course of action, including a cease-fire letter and hearing, would be too late to prevent a large marriage, according to a state acquaintance Action. State officials received a wedding invitation late last week and confirmed that some guests would travel from hot spots within the state.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said on Sunday that a big wedding was too risky and could result in a so-called superspreader event. State officials said they scheduled the wedding, which was to take place in Williamsburg, to be attended by 10,000 people.
“My suggestion: This year is a short wedding,” Mr. Cuomo said at a press conference on Sunday. The next year, a big wedding took place. Invite me, and I will come. “
The episode highlighted ongoing tensions between the governor and the Hasid community as state health officials tried to control rising coronavirus cases in Brooklyn and some areas of Queens and counties north of New York City.
Some conservative voices, including a growing group of raucous youth, have accused the government of targeting them because of their faith and religious life. Earlier this month, the governor ordered new shutdown restrictions in areas where matters were spitting out.
Orthodox Jewish leaders announced a large community prayer scheduled for Tuesday in response to the cessation of marriage and widespread restrictions. The leaders said that the incident via phone is not a protest.
Mr. Cuomo said on Sunday that the state’s efforts to control the outbreaks were successful in reducing the positivity rate in the targeted areas, which he divided into regions. As of Saturday, the state’s overall infection rate was 1.08 percent, the governor said, much lower than other states. But in areas with the highest infection rates, the rate is 3.19 percent, or “red zone”, which includes neighborhoods near Williamsburg. The synagogue is not located in a warm place.
“We are aggressive every time we see the virus – we run and kill it,” the governor said of the state’s strategy to control the outbreak. “It is ending but it is effective.”
Several factors – including distrust of scientific messaging and secular authority, devotion to communal life, and dense living conditions, have fueled growth in the ultra-Orthodox community within the city.
While New York State has one of the lowest rates of new cases, health officials are worried about another spike in the cold months when people live largely indoors and can easily spread the virus in confined spaces Huh. Mr. Cuomo noted on Sunday that even relatively small events such as a Sweet 16 party held on Long Island last month could give rise to an infectious outbreak.
The birthday party had more than 80 guests – upwards of 50 people – and led at least 37 cases and forced many more into quarantine.
Officials on Sunday announced seven more coronovirus-related deaths across the state, totaling more than 26,440 people.
“We had the worst problem in the world at one point,” Mr. Cuomo said. “The numbers are moving in the right direction.”
Liam Stack contributed reporting.