New York state health officials have taken unusual steps to shut down a haredi wedding that was scheduled for Monday that would have brought up to 10,000 guests to Brooklyn, near one of the New York City coronavirus hotspots.
The state health commissioner personally intervened to ask deputy mayors to hand the matter over to the Hasidi synagogue on Friday, warning that it must follow health protocols, including limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people.
On Sunday, the synagogue, Yetiv Lev Dzatar, accused state officials of committing “unjustified attacks” on the wedding, as Zalman’s grandson Lieb Teitelbaum, the synagogue’s rabbi, was to marry. The congregation said the party and meal would have been restricted to “close family members”, while the audience was invited to participate only for “a short period of time.”
Al-Kanis said the wedding will continue but will be restricted to a smaller group of family members. “It is sad that no one verified our plans before attacking us,” Haim Jacobowitz, the prayers’ secretary, said in a statement.
State Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, a rare move by issuing what is known as a Personal Section 16 order, which can carry a daily fine of $ 10,000 if violated. The state issued dozens of Article 16 orders during the pandemic.
Dr. Zucker moved quickly on his release due to concerns that the state’s usual first track, which includes a ceasefire speech and hearing, is too late to prevent the grand wedding, according to a person familiar with the state. Procedures. State officials received an invitation to the wedding late last week and confirmed that some guests would travel there from hot spots within the state.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday that the grand wedding was too risky and could lead to a so-called superspreader event. State officials said they decided that the wedding, which was to be held in Williamsburg, would have reached 10,000 people.
“My suggestion: hold a small wedding this year,” Mr. Cuomo said at a press conference on Sunday. “Next year, you have a big wedding. Invite me and I will come.”
The episode highlighted the escalating tensions between the governor and the Hasidic community as state health officials attempt to control the rise in coronavirus cases in some neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens. And in the counties north of New York City.
Some orthodox voices Including a growing faction of young boosThey accused the government of targeting them because of their beliefs and religious life. Earlier this month, the governor ordered new restrictions to be imposed on lockdowns in areas where cases have spiked.
Orthodox Jewish leaders announced a large mass prayer scheduled for Tuesday in response to the wedding closing and wider restrictions. The commanders said the event, which will be held by phone, was not a protest.
On Sunday, Mr. Cuomo said that the country’s efforts to control the outbreak of the disease had succeeded in reducing the percentage of positivity in the targeted neighborhoods, which he divided into regions. As of Saturday, the state’s overall infection rate is at 1.08 percent, the governor said, which is much lower than other states. But the rate is 3.19 percent in the areas with the highest infection rates, or “red areas,” which include neighborhoods near Williamsburg. The synagogue itself is not located in a hotspot.
“We are very aggressive every time we see the virus popping up – we run and hit it,” the governor said of the state’s strategy to control the outbreak. “It’s stressful but effective.”
A number of factors – including distrust of scholarly messages and secular authority, dedication to communal life and dense living conditions – led to the rise of the ultra-Orthodox community within the city.
While New York state has one of the lowest rates of new cases, health officials are concerned about another spike in the colder months, when people stay home and can easily spread the virus in confined spaces. On Sunday, Mr. Cuomo indicated that even relatively minor incidents, Like the Sweet 16 party that took place on Long Island last monthIt can lead to an outbreak of infection.
The birthday party had over 80 guests – over the 50-person limit – and led to at least 37 cases and many more people were forced into quarantine.
In a similar episode, the New York City Sheriff’s Office said, early Sunday morning, lawmakers broke up an illegal party of more than 215 people in a banquet hall in Ozone Park, Queens. Authorities said those present were dancing and not turning away or wearing masks.
On Sunday, officials announced seven more coronavirus-related deaths across the state, bringing the total to more than 26,440.
“We had the worst problem in the world at some point,” said Mr. Cuomo. “All numbers are moving in the right direction.”
Liam Stack contributed reporting.