A Long Island venue was fined thousands of dollars after hosting a party in violation of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions that led to dozens contracting the virus.
On Friday, Sept. 25, the Miller Place Inn hosted a Sweet 16 party with 81 guests, exceeding the state’s mandate of no more than 50 people gathering indoors at any given time.
Of the 81 guests - 49 students and 32 adults - 37 positive cases - 28 students and nine adults - contracted COVID-19, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said.
The Suffolk County Department of Health conducted contact tracing, which led them to 334 people who may have had close contact with people who attended the party. Of those, 183 were affiliated with school districts on Long Island, 151 were not.
In total, 270 people were placed in a two-week quarantine due to potential exposure to the virus. Eight different Long Island schools reported positive COVID-19 cases, while students and staffers in 35 Long Island schools entered a temporary quarantine.
“There’s no precise definition of what a super spreader event is,” Bellone said. “In some ways, it’s really just a term of art.
“In Suffolk County, we have not seen an event like this before at any time during the pandemic, so for Suffolk County, this was a super spreader event.”
In response to complaints stemming from the party, the Miller Place Inn was hit with a $10,000 fine on Saturday, Oct. 10 for violating New York State Executive Orders issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and fined an additional $2,000 for violating Suffolk County’s sanitary code.
This marks the first time the Health Department has taken any enforcement action against a business for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Bellone said that the situation was under control, and there was no risk of community spread at the moment.
“This cluster should serve as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of violating COVID restrictions,” he said. “We’re not out of the woods yet, and we need to remain vigilant.
“It’s vitally important that people continue to follow the guidelines, particularly as we move into winter, which was always a concern.”
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