NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - An important Hasidic wedding scheduled for Monday in Williamsburg could be a big test of the resolve of state and city officials to enforce infection reducing lockdown rules to keep COVID-19 clusters in check.
As CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, New York City is hoping to avoid a repeat of a gathering last Sunday in the village of New Square, Rockland County, where thousands of Orthodox Jews thumbed their noses at social distancing and mask rules enacted by the state.
The gathering could be responsible for a new spike in infection rates. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo the positive test rate in Rockland County red zones – including New Square – was 11.26% Thursday — up from 8.40% the day before.
"Some of the complexity of the enforcement here, especially with members of the Orthodox community, they never comply with the rules," Cuomo said.
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New York City official hope to avoid déjà vu all over again on Monday in Williamsburg where, according to flyers obtained by CBS2 the grandchild of Satmar Grand Rebbe Zalman Leib Teitlebaum is scheduled to be married. The worry is that the wedding, with events scheduled at 152 Rodney Street and 590 Bedford Street could draw thousands, not only from Williamburg, but from the Satmar community in Rockland County.
The positive rest rate in the Brookyn red zones also rose. Thursday it was 5.47%, up from 4.75% the day before.
Although the wedding venues are not in any of the COVID mini-cluster zones, officials are still worried about the spread of infection.
"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," said Mayor Bill de Blasio's Press Secretary Bill Neidhardt.
Sources say officials are trying to get the Satmar community to limit the number of people at the indoor ceremony. The concern is how many show up outside and whether it will require a large contingent of police.
On Saturday, Kramer learned authorities served an order to the Congregation Yetev Lev D'Satmar to cancel or postpone the wedding if it is not limited to 50 people.
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