New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened on Thursday to step in to prevent large weddings - particularly in Brooklyn's Hasidic community - if New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio fails to do so.
“If the mayor is not doing any enforcement actions, then the state will,” Cuomo told a news conference, according to the New York Post.
“We’ve had superspreader events in New Rochelle with the Jewish community, we’ve had them in the Catholic community. The virus does not discriminate by religious or racial lines, right? This is an equal-opportunity situation. So we police it in every circumstance.”
Cuomo's comments come after de Blasio announced 16 new cases last week in Borough Park, home to the city’s largest Hasidic population, with several connected to a large wedding.
De Blasio was sharply criticized recently for seeming to come down much harder on members of the Jewish community for congregating at large gatherings - including funerals.
The New York Post also reported Wednesday that several wedding halls in Borough Park continue to host large Orthodox weddings, despite the bans on gatherings of more than 50 people, with people entering through side doors and windows covered with paper.
The rising number of cases led several branches of the Jewish emergency medical services organization Hatzalah to issue warnings after it saw an increase in calls from people reporting COVID-like symptoms.
This raises concerns that if the numbers continue to grow it will affect both the timing of schools' reopening for the fall semester and also in-person High Holy Day services.