A U.S. appeals court has granted New York's motion for a stay of the preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order on gathering size limits in the case of two couples who wanted to have more than 50 people at their August weddings.
The ruling follows an initial injunction issued earlier this month that allowed a western New York golf club to accommodate more than 50 people for the weddings. The first couple proceeded with their wedding after that injunction; some public officials and wedding venue operators had viewed that as a precedent to enable larger ceremonies. The latest decision shuts that down.
The second couple had been scheduled to be married Saturday with some 175 people expected to attend. They'll now have to limit the size to 50 attendees.
In a filing appealing the injunction, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker had said allowing 175 guests at the planned Aug. 22 reception could defeat the state’s carefully phased-in approach to keep the coronavirus from surging back.
"The COVID-19 Task Force remains gravely concerned that the relaxing of the restrictions the State has implemented will lead to increases in the spread of the virus, resulting in a serious, but avoidable, impact on the health and lives of New York’s population," Zucker said.
The couples argued that religious ceremonies should not be treated differently than gatherings for demonstrations, graduation ceremonies and restaurants.