A $ 15,000 fine was imposed on a Brooklyn synagogue for violating the restrictions of the coronavirus after a video surfaced showing people standing shoulder to shoulder and seemingly without masks at a huge, secret Hasidic wedding.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the fine at a news conference on Tuesday and ruled the big event “unacceptable.”
The wedding was held Nov. 8 at the Yetev Lev D’Satmar Synagogue in the Williamsburg neighborhood, writes the New York Post, which posted a video showing the crowd bouncing, dancing, and singing during the event. The video does not show people wearing masks.
Calls to Wednesday’s synagogue were not returned immediately.
The synagogue can accommodate up to 7,000 people, although it is not clear exactly how many were at the wedding.
The mayor said on Tuesday that they are still trying to determine the final number of participants.
“What we know is undoubtedly that there were too many people,” he said. “Whatever the number – whether it was a hundred or a thousand – there were too many people. And they seem to have been very consciously trying to keep things happening. And that’s even more unacceptable.
The organizers kept the details of the wedding organization secret so as not to draw attention, the New York Times writes, citing the Yiddish weekly Der Blatt. The guests were informed by word of mouth about the upcoming wedding and no posters or announcements about the wedding were left on the walls of the synagogue, the Times wrote.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that a wedding had been stopped in the synagogue earlier, and if it was kept secret, avoiding it happening again, “it would be really shocking.”
“It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York,” Cuomo said.
But Blasio said a letter of termination and abandonment was placed on the building in addition to the fine, and if it turns out they were violating the restrictions again, the synagogue would be closed for good.
“We don’t want to see this happen to anyone, but we need to be very, very clear that if people do something dangerous, we can’t allow that to happen,” the mayor said.
The wedding was held in the name of New York, and every other state in the country is struggling with an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. In an update, the Cuomo on Wednesday, New York reported 6,265 positive cases and 41 deaths.