A Sweet 16 turned sour when 29 guests took home the coronavirus as a party favor — a costly gift for the Long Island venue hit with $12,000 in Covid-19 violation fines.
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services levied the fines after extensive contact tracing connected a cluster of cases to a September 25 Sweet 16 party at the Miller Place Inn, according to a Suffolk County Health Department press release.
The 81-person guest list, 49 students and 32 adults, violated New York state’s executive orders limiting nonessential gatherings to 50 people or less than 50% capacity.
Of the 37 positive cases health officials identified from the party, 29 were party guests, seven were household members and one a close contact of someone who attended the party.
As of Tuesday, health officials identified 334 contacts, 151 who were non-school affiliated and 183 who were school affiliated. A total of 270 people connected to the event are under quarantine, according to the health department.
Several contacts have already completed their quarantine period, as their exposure dates back to more than 14 days.
Eight schools have reported positive cases related to the party and 35 schools have at least one student who has been affected by the event, according to the release. It was not immediately clear how the 35 schools were affected.
“This was an egregious violation and should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences that exist for flouting COVID-19 protocols. These rules and regulations exist for a reason – to keep New Yorkers safe – and we all have an obligation to act responsibly,” Suffolk Country Executive Steve Bellone said in the press release.
The Miller Place Inn is charged with causing, permitting and serving as the venue for an indoor gathering of more than 50 persons and for not enforcing New York and Suffolk County Department of Health Covid-19 restrictions. The venue is also charged with operating a food establishment in an unsanitary condition.
CNN reached out to the venue for comment.
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