An illegal Sweet 16 party outside of New York City turned into a coronavirus “super-spreader event” that sickened more than three dozen people, authorities said.
The birthday bash was held on Sept. 25 at the Miller Place Inn on Long Island — about 65 miles east of Manhattan — and drew 81 people, Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone said on Tuesday.
That party was in violation of emergency state health codes that limit gatherings to 50 people or 50 percent of room capacity, whichever is a smaller number.
Partygoers also failed to wear masks and maintain social distance, according to Bellone. The 37 people linked to the event who tested positive consist of 28 students and nine adults.
“In Suffolk County, we have not seen an event like this before, at any time through this pandemic,” Bellone said. “For Suffolk County, this was a super-spreader event.”
County health officials first learned of the party on Sept. 30, and the venue was fined $10,000 by the state and $2,000 by the county, Bellone added.
Christopher Regina, manager of the Miller Place Inn, told NBC New York that he didn’t realize the party was breaking any laws. The venue specializes in weddings, Sweet 16 and bar and bat mitzvah parties.
“There was no clarification of the state guidelines,” Regina said, adding that the venue has “voluntarily” closed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday praised Suffolk County for its quick response and mocked the party throwers.
“They had a Sweet 16 party. How sweet. Yeah, it wasn’t that sweet,” Cuomo said. “Dozens of people from the Sweet 16 party got sick. It just shows you how one event can generate so many cases. But he (Bellone) took enforcement action, so good for him.”
The governor on Wednesday also took to task the organizers of a charity concert in the Long Island town of Southampton, which featured The Chainsmokers.