A massive wedding planned for Monday at a Williamsburg synagogue caught the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, which took the rare step of issuing a pre-emptive order from the state health commissioner to limit the number of guests.
State officials said they believe more than 10,000 guests are planning to attend the wedding, which CBS-2 reported was to celebrate one of the grandchildren of the influential Satmar Grand Rebbe Zalman Leib Teitlebaum at the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar in Williamsburg. New York’s Satmar population, one of the largest Hasidic Jewish populations in the world, spans both Brooklyn and a larger community in Rockland County, where state officials said many of the anticipated guests are coming from. Rockland County authorities told state officials about the wedding plans.
“It was a large wedding planned that would violate the gathering rules,” said Cuomo at his Saturday briefing in Manhattan.
On Friday, New York City sheriffs served the proprietors of 152 Rodney Street — where the synagogue is located — the order from State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker that orders “the owners or occupants of the venue to immediately cancel or postpone any event in excess of the 50 person gathering limit,” state officials said.
Cuomo’s special counsel Beth Garvey said the parties have the right to request a hearing on the order, though as of Saturday afternoon “we have not had any feedback,” she said at the briefing.
While Williamsburg is not in one of Cuomo’s zones to monitor COVID-19 infection rates, the neighborhood was on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Tier 2 list of areas of concerning rates of infection. Rockland County is in one of Cuomo’s “red” zones with an 11.26 percent positivity rate reported Friday.
CBS reported that authorities are working to limit the number of guests inside the building but worries remain that guests will also gather outside the building without following social distancing guidelines.
Cuomo said the investigation was done in conjunction with the city. “They’re aware of it. I’m sure that they’re going to have people monitor,” he said.
“City Hall is in discussions with the state on issuing the proper guidance. Large gatherings without social distancing and masks are severe public health risks and all guidance will be enforced. We are looking for community cooperation and hope to see all public health guidelines followed,” de Blasio’s spokesperson, Bill Neidhardt, told CBS.
“You can get married,” Cuomo said. “You just can’t have (thousands of) people at your wedding.”