What to Know
- The venue that hosted a Sweet 16 party on Long Island last month has been tied to at least three dozen COVID cases; it has been fined by the county and sanctioned by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office
- Twenty-nine of the 37 cases tied to the Sept. 25 party at the Miller Place Inn in Suffolk County were individuals who attended the party; eight different schools have reported cases stemming from the event
- Christopher Regina, manager of the Miller Place Inn, told NBC 4 New York by phone the venue wasn't aware it was violating public health law, saying there was lacking clarification on state guidelines
Gov. Cuomo said Wednesday he had imposed state sanctions on the Suffolk County venue that hosted a Sweet 16 party last month -- a gathering that turned into a "super-spreader" event with at least 37 new COVID cases. The impact of the sanctions wasn't immediately clear, but it follows $12,000 in fines that the local county executive announced had been issued against the spot a day earlier.
Asked in a conference call with reporters Wednesday why the governor would focus so acutely on a Sweet 16 party, Cuomo said, "It just shows you how one event can generate so many cases." He wants potential violators to not only be aware of potential consequences but to know that they will come.
Twenty-nine of the 37 cases tied to the Sept. 25 party at the Miller Place Inn in Suffolk County were individuals who attended the party. Seven were household contacts and one was a close contact of someone who attended the bash.
In total, contact tracing revealed 81 guests -- 49 students and 32 adults -- had attended the party, according to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone's office. Eight schools have reported positive cases in connection with the event and 35 schools have reported at least one student affected by it. One school had as many as 74 impacted students, Bellone said Tuesday.
To date, health officials have identified 334 contacts, 151 who were non-school affiliated and 183 who were school-affiliated. Two hundred-seventy of their contacts are quarantined and 11 are being actively isolated. Several contacts have already completed their quarantine period, as their exposure dates back to more than 14 days. Officials say they're confident the issue has been contained.
“This was an egregious 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.”
The manager of the Miller Place Inn, Christopher Regina, told News 4 this week he wasn't aware the venue was breaking the law, saying, "There was no clarification of the state guidelines.” He said the venue “voluntarily” closed last Thursday.
In addition to the COVID violations, Miller Place Inn was charged with operating a food establishment in an unsanitary condition, Bellone's office said.