What there is to know
- The venue that hosted a Sweet 16 party on Long Island last month has been linked to at least three dozen COVID cases; he was fined by the county and sanctioned by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office
- Twenty-nine of the 37 cases related to the September 25 party at the Miller Place Inn in Suffolk County were people who attended the party; eight different schools reported cases resulting from the event
- Christopher Regina, manager of the Miller Place Inn, told NBC 4 New York by phone that the location was unaware he was violating public health law, saying he lacked clarification on the guidelines for the ‘State.
Gov. Cuomo said on Wednesday he had imposed state sanctions on the Suffolk County site that hosted a Sweet 16 party last month – a rally that turned into a ‘super-broadcaster’ event with at least 37 new cases of COVID. The impact of the penalties was not immediately clear, but it follows fines of $ 12,000 that the local county executive announced had been imposed on the place a day earlier.
When asked on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday why the governor would focus so intensely on a Sweet 16 party, Cuomo said, “It just shows you how one event can generate so many cases.” He wants potential offenders to not only be aware of the potential consequences, but also to know that they will come.
Twenty-nine of the 37 cases linked to the September 25 party at the Miller Place Inn in Suffolk County were people who attended the party. Seven were family contacts and one was close contact from someone who attended the party.
In total, contact tracing found that 81 guests – 49 students and 32 adults – attended the party, according to the office of Suffolk County Director Steve Bellone. Eight schools reported positive cases related to the event and 35 schools reported at least one student affected by it. One school had up to 74 students affected, Bellone said on Tuesday.
To date, health officials have identified 334 contacts, 151 who were not affiliated with the school and 183 who were affiliated with the school. Two hundred and seventy of their contacts are quarantined and 11 are actively isolated. Several contacts have already completed their quarantine period, with their exposure going back more than 14 days. Officials say they are convinced the problem has been contained.
“It was a blatant violation and should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences that exist for flouting COVID-19 protocols,” Bellone said in a statement. “These rules and regulations exist for a reason – to keep New Yorkers safe – and we all have an obligation to act responsibly.”
Miller Place Inn manager Christopher Regina told News 4 this week that he was unaware the place was breaking the law, saying: “There has been no clarification of state guidelines . ” He said the venue closed “voluntarily” last Thursday.
In addition to the COVID violations, Miller Place Inn has been charged with operating a food establishment in unsanitary conditions, the Bellone office said.