Cook County investigating wedding reception at north suburban hotel

A north suburban hotel apologized Thursday after it hosted a wedding reception that triggered a Cook County health department investigation for violations of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Last evening, the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook hosted a family wedding with approximately 150 people in attendance. While the event was booked prior to the implementation of the state’s latest mitigation measures, we sincerely regret allowing this gathering to proceed and our family apologizes to our guests, employees, and the Chicagoland community,” general manager Holly Allgauer-Cir said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.

“The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for the hospitality industry and our family-owned business. However, our hope to keep the hotel afloat and employees working should not outweigh health and safety.”

Allgauer-Cir said the hotel will follow health officials’ recommendations on contact tracing and testing.

The Cook County Department of Public Health has requested the guest list for the reception, spokesman Don Bolger said.

The hotel is in Prospect Heights, which issued the venue a written warning. City administrator Joe Wade said Thursday the hotel’s general manager told him at least one hotel employee had urged members of the party to socially distance and wear masks.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker described the event as “very irresponsible.”

“This is very concerning to all of us at a moment when we have rampant COVID-19 throughout Illinois,” Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 media briefing Thursday. “Here we have people who, in a concentrated fashion, have the ability now to go spread it to everywhere that they return to.

“I’m deeply worried for them and for the communities that they’ve returned to, for their families and so on. I hope that each of them will isolate and get a test.”

Pritzker said it would be up to local authorities to mete out punishment.

The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association said the event was “unacceptable and does not reflect the careful efforts the hotel industry as a whole has taken since the onset of the pandemic to protect guests, employees and our communities.”

“The hotel industry is committed to working with policymakers and public health officials to ensure this situation is not repeated,” association president and CEO Michael Jacobson said in a statement.

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Genesee County wants to stop potential super-spreader wedding before bride and groom say, ‘I do’

GENESEE COUNTY, MI — If you’re planning to attend a large wedding in Genesee County this weekend, there could be uninvited guests from the county Health Department.

Acting Health Officer Jim Henry told the county Board of Health Wednesday, Dec. 2 that his office is investigating reports of a planned wedding with more than 100 guests and said the department wants “to put a stop to that one before it occurs.”

Multiple cases of COVID-19 were linked to an indoor wedding reception with more than 100 people at the Flushing Valley Golf & Country Club in August, and since that time, the county has experienced its sharpest rise on coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

Henry did not name the banquet facility where this weekend’s wedding is reported to take place, and MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach the interim health officer Thursday, Dec. 3, for additional information.

Henry said when representatives of the hall were contacted by his office, they said they weren’t aware of the event.

“We’ve been in touch with the state Department of Health and Human Services and liquor control,” Henry told the Board of Health. “They’ve asked us to do a site visit at the time of the event and document it.

“I don’t think that’s good enough, but that’s what their advice for us was — they would issue a citation based on our site visit.”

Henry said his office is continuing to investigate reports of the wedding.

“What I would like to do is get some better confirmation that this is actually occurring and work with out local law enforcement to tag the building (indicating) that this cannot be occupied for this type of event,” he said.

“We completely understand that this situation has put a lot things on hold for people. It’s not what we want to do at all, but we’ve had experience with a wedding (reception) and an outbreak resulting from it. Not only does it impact our community, it impacts our office (because we have to try) to keep up with the cases.”

In Michigan, indoor gatherings at non-residential venues are prohibited under COVID-19 rules issued by the MDHHS.

Gatherings of more than 10 people from more than two households are also prohibited under the rules and gatherings are prohibited at entertainment venues, including banquet halls.

There have been 13,965 cases of coronavirus and 416 deaths reported to the county Health Department as of Thursday, Dec. 3, including 800 cases in the past five days.

Just last month, county health officials said there so many cases of coronavirus locally that they can’t keep up with the demand for contact tracing.

Read more:

Six coronavirus cases linked to Flushing wedding reception

Flushing country club halts large indoor events after COVID-19 cases linked to wedding reception

Genesee County plans to use six school districts for COVID-19 vaccine sites

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Wedding dress designer moves showroom back to Cumberland County; business expands alteration offerings

A fashion designer that specializes in wedding dresses is moving her business back to Mechanicsburg.

Sheila Kauffman is bringing her business, Sheila Frank back to her original brick-and-mortar location at 50. W Main St. The showroom and studio is expected to open on Jan. 16 with a grand opening celebration likely in the spring.

The move back to Mechanicsburg follows a two year move to Union Street in Millersburg.

More than a decade ago, Kauffman launched her own line of clothing, Sheila Frank, with a focus on swimwear and ready-to-wear clothing. Frank is Kauffman’s maiden name. After sever years in business, she opened the showroom in Mechanicsburg in 2016 and introduced a bridal collection at the time.

Kauffman’s wedding dress collections are sold in her boutique, boutiques across the country and online. Kauffman also designs custom wedding dresses including bespoke wedding dresses.

Kauffman previously did bridal alterations but she is now doing general alterations as well for men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.

The property is currently being renovated. The boutique will be in the front of the store while the studio will be in the back of the property.

“I’m especially excited for 2021,” Kauffman said. “We are offering services and solutions that are limited in central PA. If 2020 has taught me anything, it certainly is that local small businesses are what keep this economy going. I am excited to work with the local clientele.”

Kauffman is currently accepting appointments now for the coming 2021 wedding season.

Due to COVID-19, the store will be open by appointment only during the following hours: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Customers are also asked schedule in advance so that business can follow CDC guidelines and ensure a safe and clean space for each customer. To schedule you an appointment call or send a text to 717-516-0901 or send an e-mail [email protected]

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North Bergen fashion designer donates 405 masks to county school district

When the coronavirus put a North Bergen-based designer’s plan to launch her own line on hold, she channeled her passion for fashion into a burgeoning face covering business.

Last week Pilar Posada, founder of FacecoverUS, donated 405 masks to the Hudson County Schools of Technology for teachers, faculty and staff district wide.

To date, the company has distributed over 5,000 free face masks to frontline workers and other local organizations.

“We started at the beginning of the pandemic making masks for local charities,” Posada said. “Quickly once a family member finds out you can make a mask everyone starts messaging you for some and it just grew and grew to the point where we couldn’t keep up.

“We quickly threw up the Shopify site and wanted to keep our commitment to donating to local charities and give donations to the community. Shortly after that, we decided we would donate one for every three sold and because of our customers we’re able to make donations like this.”

The donation of masks, which have three layers with an adjustable ear strap and nose wire, is arriving at the right time. Like the rest of the state, Hudson County is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19. Jersey City reported 118 new cases Thursday, while Hudson County reported 578 new cases on Nov. 25.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our top priority at the Hudson County Schools of Technology has been to keep our students, faculty and staff safe during these trying times,” Superintendent Amy Lin-Rodriguez said. The generous donation from a local small business is a tremendous act of kindness — one that will help those who step onto our campuses to stay healthy. “

Accepting the donations on behalf of the district were John Shinnick, HCST’s school safety specialist, Dr. Joseph Giammarella, principal of High Tech High School and William Mattei, vice principal of County Prep High School.

“Despite the challenges small businesses have faced over the past several months, it is remarkable to see people like FacecoversUs continue to find ways to support local frontline workers, including the teachers at High Tech High School,” Giammarella said.

Face covering donation at HCST

Face coverings donated to the Hudson County Schools of Technology by FacecoverUS founder Pilar Posada. (HCST photo)HCST

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