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Wedding With Nearly 300 People Busted At Queens Venue, Chinatown Karaoke Bar Shut Down For Violations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The city is cracking down on large gatherings, hoping to stop the spread of growing COVID clusters.

A wedding celebration in Queens was busted late Friday. The sheriff's office says there was a wedding going on at the Royal Elite Palace in Woodside with indoor seating, food, alcohol and a live band.

Dominic Aviles lives next door to the venue.

"Every day they got a party over there, every day," he told CBS2's Cory James.

Investigators say there were nearly 300 people inside, celebrating a wedding, when officers arrived just before midnight.


It's not surprising to Aviles, who says he's seen several large events there this month.

"They entre from the back of the building, and then they don't put no light," he said.

Neighbor L.J. Springer says she's seen guests near what authorities say is the entrance to a parking garage.

"They were standing right by the service entrance, which is weird because normally everyone goes in on the other side where the main entrance is," she said.

The owner and a manager at Royal Elite Palace were taken into custody and issued appearance tickets for multiple violations. CBS2 reached out to the event hall but have not heard back.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The sheriff's office also shut down the K-One Karaoke Bar in Chinatown on Saturday because of social distancing violations.

Investigators say close to 80 people were inside the bar, drinking and dining.

The K-One Karaoke Bar manager and security guard, who authorities say was unlicensed, were both taken into custody and issued appearance tickets for multiple misdemeanors, including violating the emergency measure.

CBS2 reached out to the bar for comment but have not heard back.

The busts happened as cases are starting to rise in New York.

MORE: New York State Logs More Than 1,000 Daily COVID-19 Cases; Most Since June 5

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says there were over 1,000 new coronavirus cases Friday with an increase in hospitalizations and people in the ICU.

Dr. Mitch Katz, president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, says they're seeing a rise in outbreaks in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

"In many areas of southern Brooklyn and other, some isolated areas in Queens, the prevalence of COVID is three times higher than it is in other sections. We have been doing a lot of outreach from August. I've been on calls myself with community leaders, urging people to take fairly simple steps -- wear a mask, keep socially distant, no large gatherings," Klatz said.

Homecrest and Gravesend in Brooklyn have seen the highest return of positive test results, which officials say jumped to 6.7% with the rest of the state sitting at 1%.

MORE: Health Officials Release Latest COVID-19 Infection Rates For Brooklyn, Queens Neighborhoods

Inspections and enforcement measures began Friday in areas of Brooklyn and Queens experiencing an alarming increase in COVID cases.

Some residents say they're not surprised, but they are concerned.

"My son is going to private school and I have to go to work, and if the school will close, I will not be able to work, so I'm really worried," one mother said.

MORE: NYC Health Inspections, Enforcement Efforts Continue In Neighborhoods With Growing COVID-19 Infection Rates

Others disagree with the busts and shutdowns.

"This is America, we should be able to do what we want," one Rockland man said.

If residents refuse to comply, the city has threatened to prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people, issue fines, and close schools and non-essential businesses.

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