New York City officials on Monday announced that they would fine the organizers of a Hasidic Jewish wedding that was attended by thousands of people earlier this month, calling it reckless and accusing organizers of concealing it from authorities.
The New York Times reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said that those who planned the wedding took active steps to ensure that the thousands of participants would not reveal news of the wedding to city authorities.
“We know there was a wedding,” the mayor said on local news station NY1, according to the newspaper “We know it was too big. I don’t have an exact figure, but whatever it was, it was too big. There appeared to be a real effort to conceal it. Which is absolutely unacceptable.”
Video of the wedding that first appeared online and was obtained by the Times shows thousands of men packed closely together in a hall for the wedding, and a report of the cover-up efforts reportedly appeared in a local Hasidic newspaper.
“We’ve been through so much,” de Blasio continued during the NY1 interview, according to the Times. “And in fact, the Williamsburg community in recent weeks responded very positively, did a lot more testing and was being very responsible. This was amazingly irresponsible, just unacceptable. So there’s going to be consequences right away for the people who let that happen.”
City officials have battled with members of the Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in parts of New York for months over COVID-19 restrictions, which have banned the large public gatherings that often take place in closely-knit majority-Hasidic neighborhoods.
In October, the NYPD arrested organizers of a Hasidic Jewish protest against the city’s COVID-19 restrictions after fires were set and a journalist was brutally assaulted on the street.