New York State well being officers have taken extraordinary steps to close down an ultra-Orthodox wedding ceremony deliberate for Monday that might have had introduced as much as 10,000 company to Brooklyn, close to one among New York Metropolis’s coronavirus sizzling spots.
The state well being commissioner personally intervened to have sheriff’s deputies ship the order to the Hasidic synagogue on Friday, warning that it should observe well being protocols, together with limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 individuals.
On Sunday, the synagogue, the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar, accused state officers of “unwarranted attacks” on the marriage, the place a grandson of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, the synagogue’s rabbi, was to be married. The congregation stated that the ceremony and meal would have been restricted to “close family members,” whereas the general public would have been invited to take part solely “for a short period of time.”
The marriage will proceed, the synagogue stated, however might be restricted to a smaller group of members of the family. “It’s sad that nobody verified our plans before attacking us,” Chaim Jacobowitz, the congregation’s secretary, stated in an announcement.
The state well being commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, took the uncommon step of personally issuing what is called a Part 16 order, which might carry a each day advantageous of $10,000 if violated. The state has issued dozens of Part 16 orders through the pandemic.
Dr. Zucker moved shortly in issuing it due to issues that the state’s regular first plan of action, which entails a stop and desist letter and a listening to, would have been too late to stop the massive wedding ceremony, in keeping with an individual acquainted with the state’s actions. State officers obtained an invite to the marriage late final week and confirmed that some company could be touring there from sizzling spots throughout the state.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday stated that a big wedding ceremony was too dangerous and will have resulted in a so-called superspreader occasion. State officers stated that they decided the marriage, which was scheduled to happen in Williamsburg, might have had as much as 10,000 individuals in attendance.
“My suggestion: Have a small wedding this year,” Mr. Cuomo stated at a information convention on Sunday. “Next year, have a big wedding. Invite me, and I’ll come.”
The episode highlighted the brewing tensions between the governor and the Hasidic group as state well being officers attempt to management surging coronavirus instances in some neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens and in counties north of New York City.
Some Orthodox voices, including a growing faction of raucous young men, have accused the federal government of concentrating on them due to their religion and spiritual life. Earlier this month, the governor ordered new shutdown restrictions in areas the place instances have been spiking.
Orthodox Jewish leaders introduced a big group prayer scheduled for Tuesday in response to the shutdown of the marriage and the broader restrictions. The occasion, which can happen through cellphone, just isn’t a protest, the leaders stated.
Mr. Cuomo on Sunday stated that the state’s efforts to regulate outbreaks had been profitable in lowering the positivity price within the focused neighborhoods, which he had divided into zones. As of Saturday, the state’s total an infection price was 1.08 %, the governor stated, significantly decrease than different states. However the price is 3.19 % within the areas with the best an infection charges, or “red zones,” which embrace neighborhoods close to Williamsburg. The synagogue itself just isn’t situated in a sizzling spot.
“We are so aggressive every time we see the virus pop up — we run and hit it down,” the governor stated concerning the state’s technique for controlling outbreaks. “It’s exhausting but it’s effective.”
Quite a lot of elements — together with mistrust of scientific messaging and secular authority, a dedication to communal life and dense dwelling circumstances — have fueled the rise within the ultra-Orthodox group throughout the metropolis.
Whereas New York State has one of many lowest charges of recent instances, well being officers are anxious about one other spike within the colder months, when individuals largely keep indoors and might extra simply unfold the virus in confined areas. Mr. Cuomo famous on Sunday that even comparatively small occasions, such as a Sweet 16 party held on Long Island last month, can spark an infectious outbreak.
The birthday celebration had greater than 80 company — above the 50-person most — and led to no less than 37 instances and lots of extra individuals compelled into quarantine.
Officers on Sunday introduced seven extra coronavirus-related deaths throughout the state, bringing the full to greater than 26,440 individuals.
“We had the worst problem on the globe at one point,” Mr. Cuomo stated. “The numbers are all moving in the right direction.”
Liam Stack contributed reporting.