New York State well being officers have taken extraordinary steps to close down an ultra-Orthodox marriage ceremony deliberate for Monday that would have had introduced as much as 10,000 company to Brooklyn, close to one among New York Metropolis’s coronavirus scorching 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 folks.
On Sunday, the synagogue, the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar, accused state officers of “unwarranted assaults” on the marriage, the place a grandson of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, the synagogue’s rabbi, was to be married. The congregation mentioned that the ceremony and meal would have been restricted to “shut relations,” whereas the general public would have been invited to take part solely “for a brief time period.”
The marriage will proceed, the synagogue mentioned, however can be restricted to a smaller group of relations. “It’s unhappy that no one verified our plans earlier than attacking us,” Chaim Jacobowitz, the congregation’s secretary, mentioned in a press release.
The state well being commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, took the uncommon step of personally issuing what is named a Part 16 order, which may carry a every day positive of $10,000 if violated. The state has issued dozens of Part 16 orders throughout the pandemic.
Dr. Zucker moved shortly in issuing it due to considerations that the state’s regular first plan of action, which includes a stop and desist letter and a listening to, would have been too late to stop the massive marriage ceremony, in keeping with an individual aware of 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 scorching spots throughout the state.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday mentioned that a big marriage ceremony was too dangerous and will have resulted in a so-called superspreader occasion. State officers mentioned that they decided the marriage, which was scheduled to happen in Williamsburg, might have had as much as 10,000 folks in attendance.
“My suggestion: Have a small marriage ceremony this 12 months,” Mr. Cuomo mentioned at a information convention on Sunday. “Subsequent 12 months, have an enormous marriage ceremony. Invite me, and I’ll come.”
The episode highlighted the brewing tensions between the governor and the Hasidic neighborhood as state well being officers attempt to management surging coronavirus circumstances 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 focusing on them due to their religion and spiritual life. Earlier this month, the governor ordered new shutdown restrictions in areas the place circumstances had been spiking.
Orthodox Jewish leaders introduced a big neighborhood prayer scheduled for Tuesday in response to the shutdown of the marriage and the broader restrictions. The occasion, which is able to happen by way of telephone, isn’t a protest, the leaders mentioned.
Mr. Cuomo on Sunday mentioned that the state’s efforts to regulate outbreaks had been profitable in lowering the positivity fee within the focused neighborhoods, which he had divided into zones. As of Saturday, the state’s general an infection fee was 1.08 p.c, the governor mentioned, significantly decrease than different states. However the fee is 3.19 p.c within the areas with the best an infection charges, or “purple zones,” which embody neighborhoods close to Williamsburg. The synagogue itself isn’t situated in a scorching spot.
“We’re so aggressive each time we see the virus pop up — we run and hit it down,” the governor mentioned in regards to the state’s technique for controlling outbreaks. “It’s exhausting nevertheless it’s efficient.”
Numerous components — together with mistrust of scientific messaging and secular authority, a dedication to communal life and dense dwelling situations — have fueled the rise within the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood throughout the metropolis.
Whereas New York State has one of many lowest charges of latest circumstances, well being officers are fearful about one other spike within the colder months, when folks 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 party had greater than 80 company — above the 50-person most — and led to at the least 37 circumstances and plenty of extra folks compelled into quarantine.
In an identical episode, the Sheriff’s Workplace in New York Metropolis mentioned that early Sunday morning, deputies broke up an unlawful get together of greater than 215 folks at a banquet corridor within the Ozone Park space of Queens. These attending had been dancing and never social distancing or sporting masks, the authorities mentioned.
Officers on Sunday introduced seven extra coronavirus-related deaths throughout the state, bringing the whole to greater than 26,440 folks.
“We had the worst drawback on the globe at one level,” Mr. Cuomo mentioned. “The numbers are all transferring in the precise route.”
Liam Stack contributed reporting.