With more recent news of a country club and a homeowner significantly violating the social-distancing mandates put in place by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone explained that significant fines have been distributed.
“This type of blatant disregard for the wellbeing of others is not only extremely disappointing, it will not be tolerated. If you violate the rules, you will be caught and held responsible,” Bellone said during a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
He added that the Cutchogue country club received $17,000 in fines for hosting a wedding with more 91 individuals, 30 of which tested positive. Also, the Farmingville homeowner responsible for a 200-to-300-person party two weekends ago will face a $2,500 fine. (The party included the concern of issues surrounding serving alcohol to minors, too.) Bellone stressed that the executive order currently allows nonessential gatherings to 50 individuals maximum.
“We have been through too much. We have experienced too much pain, anxiety, harm, economic harm…,” Bellone said. “Families are still in crisis. Businesses are still struggling to survive. And yet through that, we have come incredibly far. And this kind of activity is what threatens to bring us back.”
While it did not violate the social gathering limits of 50 individuals maximum, a birthday party in Bellport on Oct. 17 resulted in 26 positive cases, and 132 contacts quarantined, too.
“Between this wedding and this birthday party, there were 56 positive cases and nearly 300 people under quarantine,” Bellone pointed out. “These kinds of superspreader events are a threat to our public health and to our continued economic recovery.”
The county puts forth that there are no further cases from the event in Bellport.
“It is a perfect example of how quickly this virus can spread,” he said. “We have made such progress because we have followed the guidance. These types of events can undermine and undo all of that good work.”
Bellone pointed to other areas of the country and other parts of the region, exhibiting that Suffolk County could be doing much worse.
“Look at what is happening in our region, even in New Jersey, where there are cities that are going back into lockdowns, where businesses are shutting down again. We do not want that to happen in Suffolk County,” he said, continuing on to branch the discussion globally. “You look at what is happening in Europe, where they are talking about major lockdowns. We do not want that to happen. We are determined to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. We need to continue the progress we are making on this virus and continue our economic recovery from this virus.”