wedding

NYC Police Officers Break Up Indoor Wedding with Nearly 300 Guests in Violation of Social Distancing Rules

NYPD

A wedding with nearly 300 guests in New York was broken up by sheriff’s deputies over the weekend.

The illegal gathering was shut down around 11:30 p.m. on Friday night, the New York City Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter. A total of 284 people were in attendance at the event — a number well over the city’s social distancing guidelines that limit gatherings to 50 people — which took place at the Royal Elite Palace in Woodside, Queens.

The Royal Elite Palace did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

NBC New York reported that the wedding featured food and alcohol being served, as well as a live band.

The wedding hall’s manager and owner were both charged with multiple offenses for violating the rules in place because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), NBC News reported.

Several other large gatherings were shut down over the weekend by the sheriff’s office, including two bars that were operating in Queens with at least 100 people inside.

City officials have been warning of another possible city-wide shut down if growing clusters of COVID-19 cases are not able to be brought under control.

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While New York City’s overall infection rate is currently low at 1.1 percent, according to NBC New York, the infection and hospitalization rates have been rising in several neighborhoods.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that if the city-wide infection rate reaches 2 percent, then some re-openings will have to be reconsidered, and schools would shut down if the infection rate reaches 3 percent, NBC New York reported.

Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Dr. Dave Chokshi said at a Friday press briefing that COVID-19 clusters in Brooklyn and Queens could lead to broader, city-wide transmission, NBC New York reported.

“This may be the most precarious moment that we’re facing since we have emerged from lockdown,” Chokshi said. “We will move as swiftly as the situation warrants. … If this growth continues, it will turn into widespread transmission potentially citywide.”

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo identified 10 New York zip codes with worrisome clusters at an infection rate of about 15 percent.

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“The key with these clusters is to jump on them quickly, attack them from all sides,” Cuomo said Monday, according to NBC News New York.

The affected neighborhoods will likely be given restrictions in an effort to curb the spread and get infection rates back down. Those new guidelines could be implemented as soon as Tuesday, NBC New York reported.

Nationwide, there have been more than 7.1 million reported cases of COVID-19 and 204,000 deaths related to the virus, according to data from the New York Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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