‘Diamond Sweet 16’ Party Leaves 37 Infected and 270 in Quarantine

Oct 14, 2020 · 143 comments
Maddhatter (Ohio)
Iconoclast (Earth)
This must be civic irrespsibility at it's most uninformed. This is considered responsible, adult, due consideration? What have we come to?
Roy (Minneapolis)
Are Latinos in the US and throughout Latin America suffering high rates of infection and death from the Covid 19 because they are continuing to attend large family celebrations like this "Sweet 16" party during the Pandemic?
Gregg (NYC)
I'm completely in agreement with Governor Cuomo. If people can't abide by common sense public health regulations, they need to face legal consequences in the form of stiff fines for individuals and businesses. If a business then continues to flaunt the health laws, the state should have the legal right to shut them down. Period.
Lorraine (Portland, OR)
We live in a country where a significant amount of people believe in Trump and Qanon but can't believe the virus is real until they experience it first hand, including Chris Christie. If someone were to go to work with a fever, sneezing, coughing, they would be ostracized for brining that flu to work, but for some reason, that doesn't apply to a flu that is worse, it's deadly. It's all so upside down.
Joel Stegner (Edina, MN)
Why are the adults who set up this party not identified? At the minimum, I expect them to contact everyone who was infected and apologize for their total irresponsibility.
RevGil (New Jersey)
How about fining the parents of the sweet 16 year old? They are as much as fault as the venue by allowing the the invitation of 80 people at the party !!!
El Lucho (PGH)
I see the overwhelming majority of readers is blaming the venue, as they should. But what about the attendees? What are they thinking, if they believe that a teenager's party of any sort, is a safe place for them to be? Assuming you are an optimist, and believe in you fellow man sense of responsibility, shouldn't you check what is the real deal?
Meta1 (Grayslake, US)
"Party Leaves 37 Infected and 270 in Quarantine" It is more than a question of fines and medical costs. Name and shame ... the parents ...
Barbara (Queens)
@Meta1 You are right...this is a kind of Reckless Endangerment, whether or not it strictly fits the legal definition, and every adult who attended / allowed their kids to attend, committed it. But then, it really starts at the top (or bottom depending on your definition) as our very PRESIDENT sets the tone and example. Since he has as yet not been held accountable for his completely irresponsible behavior it would probably be unfair to hold these ordinary citizens to higher standard. The operators of the venue should certainly be held legally responsible for any illness- medical bills etc. If people tried to cram into any place in my neighborhood like this these days, the proprietors ( or whoever was in charge that shift) would be firmly turning them away at the door.
Chris (Los Angeles)
God forbid you celebrate your Sweet 16 with immediate family and a promise to blow the roof off when there isn't a global pandemic raging. People are beyond selfish which is why this is going to be with us for a long, long while. Why can't we teach kids about a greater good/empathy? Happy 16th, Sweety. Bet it wasn't worth it.
Nominae (Santa Fe, NM)
Having *30 more guests than the legal limit of 50 is not exactly "following the letter of the law" is it ? People at the event, people living in the surrounding area and all of *their family, friends and contacts should not have to be threatened with potential *death so that these scads of self-absorbed, narcissistic nit-wits can "party like it's 1955".
Felix Cat (Kingston WA)
There are several reported stories about people at outdoor events wearing masks getting sick. What’s going on? Government, please answer.
Stephen Hume (Vancouver Island)
Not hard to figure out. They got exposed. Some got infected. There are no guarantees in any of this. Masks don’t guarantee protection, they mitigate spreading the virus. You wear the mask because it reduces the likelihood that you will transmit the virus if you are carrying it. If you come into contact with people who are from outside your immediate bubble, you’re at risk of exposure, less so outdoors but the risk remains. If you increase the numbers, you increase the risk. If you wear a mask you decrease the risk. If you limit contacts, you decrease the risk. Responsible people know it’s about one’s duty to others. Irresponsible people think it’s about them and their convenience. This is not rocket science but it is science. Personally, I favour diminishing risk for myself and others, not amplifying it. Call it self-interested altruism. Or just risk management.
Maddhatter (Ohio)
@Stephen Hume I agree with you totally.
Mary Barrett (NYC)
@Felix Cat Its not just wearing a mask, you have to wear it correctly (ie over your nose and mouth with no gaps), wash your hands after you take them off and wash them after wearing. All of these instructions are readily available. And who is to say that the people were infected at the outdoor event rather than somewhere else.
Ecruet (New York City)
thoughts and prayers
Dheep' (Midgard)
"A lawyer for the family, Anthony P. Gallo, said the Reginas had spent around $10,000 on various safety measures to protect patrons during the pandemic. " What a Joke, as in - any time you see or hear this statement you know it's Bogus. Nice goin' Miller Place Inn. It's wonderful wonderful to see how much you care for you Customers. ( did you hear that chuckling in the background Miller Place? No one thinks it's funny, they are just laughing at your lawyer's statement about safety )
CalypsoSummer (Virginia)
Maybe the owners of that place needed to spend a little money taking math lessons. 80 does not equal 50, and never did. Maybe a whopping big fine will induce them to start counting a little more accurately. I just don't get it. Okay, yes, they're there to make money -- but to run things in a way that let THAT MANY PEOPLE get sick? In that area, I'd be avoiding the Typhoid Inn from now on. If the COVID regs are something to shrug off, how to they regard the health regulations? "Oh, just scrape the mold off, Junie -- it'll be fine"?
john roche (Millbrae ca)
Fines!Fines! Depraved indifference to human life is more accurate. take away their license and jail time. They intentionally put workers at risk. For those who attended and got sick I for one am not sending thoughts and prayers. Enough is enough. I am just guessing here but Wealthy white people???
William (Nyc)
I don't see what the big deal is... The president does this every day! /s
Chris (Los Angeles)
@William Agreed. It's perfectly fine because they can just go to Walter Reed and get all of the treatments he got. Anyone can go there now. Cool beans. Easy peasy.
Barbara (Queens)
@William Well yes but then Trump is no more of a role model than my nejghbor's mutt, and he yaps as loudly and incessantly, if not more...
Cassandra (Cape Cod)
They should not be fined. They should lose their license to operate for a year. If I had my way the venue would be indicted as an accessory to murder. Twelve thousand dollars? When untold people and hospital resources will be affected by this wrongheaded stupid violation of law?
Buffalin (Baltimore, MD)
LOL "Lawn Guyland" is all you need to know. Almost as telling as 'Florida Man'
Henry (NYC)
Next thing they'll be telling us we can't hold church services indoors. Oh, wait . . .
Observer from (Portland)
"Diamond Sweet 16 Package." Is this how we encourage feminist daughters? Honestly. That blows me away....this is what my folks would have done: cake and a card and a "never mind, it's not the end of the world" hug with the promise of pizza for my 6 best chums and me when the pandemic had blown over. American glamour, glitz and "princess" excess are as much of a virus as Covid 19.
newyorkerva (sterling)
Keep reporting on this. I want to know the hospitalization rate of the attendees and their level of sickness. Being infected is important, but knowing the additional effects is important, too.
CalypsoSummer (Virginia)
@newyorkerva - One doesn't have to be hospitalized to be a long hauler.
Marlea (NYC)
“They’ve conducted themselves always within the letter of the law,..." Really? There's a big difference between 50 and 80 or did they think no one would notice. It should have been a $12,000 fine for each extra person over the legal 50 person limit
Cara (NYC)
@Marlea Exactly. They are victims for choosing to violate regulations?
Ralph (Austin, TX)
Since the owners out here ignoring repeated warnings, if so much as ONE person dies related to this, shut the venue down. Permanently.
Thomas (Hollywood)
What kind of parents would put their teen daughters (and sons) in harm's way like this?
Elena (Denver)
I am a caterer in Denver. I have to say this scares me beyond. I was asked to cater a party in December for 250 people!!!! I still can’t get my head around how we would ever do this safely. My feeling is we should ALL WAIT UNTIL THIS IS COMPLETELY UNDER CONTROL! We as business owners are definitely in a bad place financially. I would rather wait than pay huge fines and put my licenses in danger because people don't believe this virus is serious. Unfortunately, selfishness and ignorance seem to be making the decisions lately. I couldn’t live with myself if I was responsible for someone let alone me becoming ill with this dangerous virus. Get it together people, grow up and learn to wait. If you don’t, it might be then this might be the last party you ever attend.
HadEnough (Torrance, CA)
@Elena Thank you for being a voice of reason (and science!).
Smithy (Los Angeles)
I'm fuming. I haven't hugged any of my friends or extended family in months. My 5 kids haven't really left the house since April! We haven't visited Grandma since February! I'm home schooling while trying to work. We finally broke down and hired our nanny and house cleaner back after a 5 month break because I just couldn't do EVERYTHING BY MYSELF anymore. Certainly no playdates or birthday parties. These selfish people had an indoor party for 80??? I'm full of rage. Am I the last one taking my social responsibility seriously?
Barbara (Queens)
@Smithy Nope.
Jean (Cleary)
Another 80 entitled people flouting the rules and spreading the virus. And they wonder why these businesses are closing. Why is it so hard for everyone to do their part. These are people who never would make it in World War ll or on September 11th. Only some people are "all in this together"
Renee Margolin (CA)
Unfortunately, Trump and his Republican Party have encouraged childish, impulsive, selfish behavior to a dangerous extent. Republicans’ decades-long cry of “I have rights without any responsibilities” is the seed of the current rampant civil discourse and pandemic health crisis. It is time to make Republicans grow up. Vote out all Republicans and make sure this election has consequences.
Richard Johnston (Upper west side)
If I have an unlicensed firearm on the premises of my business and someone uses it to injure or kill someone else I am guilty of a felony and reckless endangerment. Why are the proprietors not in the same status?
newyorkerva (sterling)
@Richard Johnston that isn't the law for having a party.
Richard Johnston (Upper west side)
@newyorkerva It is for breaking the law and endangering others.
David J (NJ)
Fines appear not enough to halt stupidity. Close the business and fine the participants. It’s potentially negligent homicide.
Linda (Oregon)
What part of no gatherings larger than 50 do people not understand?? This is literally a matter of life and death, people!
Ken Davis (Rhode Island)
I am sure that this affluent community will be making a LARGE donations to Mather Memorial Hospital to cover the hospitalization, hazard pay for staff, and the cost of PPE, barriers, etc. Then to community health services for testing, tracing, education and preparations for future outbreaks. Other donations should be made to reimburse the elementary school & district that is only a few hundred feet away. The volunteer fire department & rescue services that have prepared to respond should also be considered. This was a reckless, not “Sweet 16 Party” held in a catering facility serving the affluent. This outbreak is not due to a lack of reinforcement. This was a failure to provide good parenting.
Nadia (San Francisco)
I checked out the inn's web site. Looks like a pretty cheesy event space to me. Might as well have a buffet dinner in a high school gym.
alan brown (manhattan)
The truth is that lack of enforcement is the reason for widespread ignoring of mitigation violations. Slaps on the wrists don't work. It's OK to have mass protests but not funerals. I watched in astonishment as the L.A. Lakers celebrated their championship at mid-court with 15 unmasked players, indoors, hugging and so close they could kiss. Was there any media attention to this? No. People would go through red lights except for the fear of a ticket. Who will enforce the rules? Not the police who go without masks and are angry about defunding. Not the Governor who is concerned about a primary two years hence. Talk is cheap though so it costs nothing to criticize a Sweet 16 Party that should never have happened.
AET (Bay Area)
NBA players spent 3 months in a bubble in Orlando and were routinely tested. There were zero positive tests in 3 months. All media members remained masked while talking to players. Coaches and players wore masks when talking to the press. On-court interviews featured masked reporters and socially-distant athletes or coaches. They can play basketball and celebrate without masks because they did the hard work of guaranteeing that nobody on the court had COVID. They’ve been more of a success story than pretty much any other entity in our society. When we see NBA players celebrating normally after winning a championship, we should be reminded that public health measures and taking science seriously do work. Their celebration wasn’t irresponsible; it was the pinnacle of responsibility.
Seri (PA)
@alan brown People have a Constitutional right to protest. Also, they were wearing masks for the most part and were outside, where transmission is lessened. We also know in hindsight that the protests did not cause spikes in cases.
ms (ca)
@AET Yes. I don't follow sports but my brother does and he told me about the lengths sports leagues have gone to in order to keep playing, including actions like quarantining 1,000 people in one resort for months. The people came from the players and staff among multiple teams. And one guy was fined and another booted out of a league for attempting to see an untested girlfriend.
JTaylor (Seattle)
I just don't get people's reluctance to follow the health guidelines. Had we all been doing this for the past six months, we'd be well on our way to a more stable economy and loosening restrictions. I can't see my relatives in Canada and won't be able to for many more months. I live alone. Yes, it's been tough and lonely at times, but I know this, too, will pass. Perhaps part of the problem is that we've become so used to being constantly "connected" with others that we've forgotten how to find contentment by and in ourselves.
Barbara (Queens)
@JTaylor You are fortunate to have the inner equilibrium, the equanimity, to be able to feel calm and accepting (if not thrilled, of course!) with solitude. I think that people are just different in their personality make-up, and can tolerate varying degrees and lengths of time of isolation. Your last sentence is so true and yet paradoxically this availability of virtual connection is a life saver for those less able to tolerate physical solitude.
Timty (New York)
Fines were too low. This is very serious business.
Observor (Backwoods California)
@Timty the The businesses that flout these regulations should not only be fined but should also have to forfeit to the state the entire fee they charged for holding these events.
joe (Canada)
I feel that the venue owners openly and willfully violated the law...in essence thumbing their noses at a law that was established to protect lives. As such, there should not be any mitigating circumstances and they should receive maximum penalty. In my view, that penalty should be loss of business license and jail time. This is a serious matter.
Jean (Cleary)
@joe I think that the family who invited all these people should be fined as well. They did the inviting of over 50 people to begin with.
fawn (U.S.)
@joe I completely agree. When are people going to learn?
Paul Sheridan (Earth....)
@joe Yes, Joe, you have that correct! Nothing like guaranteed jail time to sharpen the mind. We see this almost everyday in Corporate America, fines for breaking banking regs, environmental regs, labor law, all just the "cost of doing business" to these Corps. But someone had to sign-off on these crimes, and THOSE heads of Corps need to "do some time." Even million dollar fines are pennies to billion dollar Corps...
mlbex (California)
People won't learn. Americans will keep getting sick until there is an effective vaccine. It will get worse in the winter when it is too cold and wet for outdoor gatherings, and just wait until the Christmas season starts. To prevent a train wreck this winter, we need a vaccine that we don't have. Fasten your seat belts and protect yourself; other people are going to take unreasonable chances and get sick.
Pomeister (San Diego)
If, after such an event, it is proven that the the law was broken and moreover someone contracted Covid 19 and was then hospitalized, could the party organizers, the event host or even the family who booked the event be sued for the costs incurred? And if, heaven’s forbid, someone dies could they be held responsible? We had a major fire out here in California after a gender reveal stunt. Those folks may be looking at a tough legal future. Please wake up folks.
Sara Greenleaf (Salem Oregon)
”Creating memories” has created extreme selfishness. The last thing a 16 year old needs, as they’re nearing adulthood, is to be told they’re special enough to kill the people around them. Happy Halloween, I guess.
Eric (Westchester)
Family events matter more than non-family. Juyst wait until Thanksgiving. Who is going to give-up what could be their final Thanksgiving with very sick non-elderly and elderly?
Timty (New York)
@Eric People who love their families enough to do the right thing.
Susan in NH (NH)
@Eric Zoom conferences or even just FaceTime is amazing. I have a monthly Zoom get together with eight of my fellow college classmates (Class of 1961) and Zoomed with my daughter and granddaughter in Idaho last week. Almost as good as being in the same room but obviously a lot safer. And a virtual hug is not great, but it beats visits to graveyards!
Sándor (Bedford Falls)
"... the Department of Consumer Affairs had previously issued the inn’s owners three written warnings..." If true, any "fine" might not work. This inn needs to have its venue license revoked.
george eliot (annapolis, md)
"They’ve conducted themselves always within the letter of the law, they’ve never had any problems,” Mr. Gallo said, adding, “They’re just beside themselves with the turn of events.” Except when they didn't. Words of wisdom from their mouthpiece.
Paul Dobbs (Vosges, France)
Couldn't have been ignorance. It's so simple and we all know it well: limit group size, socially distance, wear masks. It's not rocket science. Since we can rule out ignorance, it must have been arrogance. Honest to God, what gives with these people? Who do they think they are? Republicans partying with a Supreme Court nominee?
Not_That_Donald (Philadelphia)
Why isn't the family identified in this piece? They were the ones throwing the party. Aren't they more to blame than anybody?
Ratza Fratza (Home)
This is what Trump's strategy of "Herd Immunity" is shooting for. It proposes that when everybody gets it and comes back cured, it'll disappear then. HELP! He's going to get us all killed. I think his act of being infected was just that, an Act, to validate that whacked out idea. They seem to have forgotten, people have died. You supporters first.
Paul Sheridan (Earth....)
@Ratza Fratza True words: "....his act of being infected was just that, an Act..." a desperate attempt to get re-elected. May it not work... Think of the officials, high and low, as well as medical staff, who had to break their oaths to "serve" this commander-in-chief. He is a liar and a sociopath, but those he brought down with him are co-conspirators. RICO act indictments, Jan. 21st?
Bryan (Brooklyn, NY)
One of my parents survived WWII and the Nazi’s. The other grew up in circumstances that were described as bone crushing poverty. Both of them taught me the art of sacrificing immediate, feel good needs. This successful, play the long game kid thanks them for that important skill set.
Bob (VA)
The fine should have an extra zero on it.
Larry Lundgren (Sweden)
If the president were capable of serious thought, then it would be of great importance to present this article to him. Imagine if a research team were to be created that would report in detail on the symptoms experienced by each of the 37, the care that each required, and the estimated extra health-care costs that resulted. The closing report would tell us whether each of the 37 contiued to suffer from one or more long-term negative effects. A parallel study of a sample of the 270 in quarantine would be of equal interest. In the end, all who did not show that they were fighters who could by their sheer will power beat the disease - following Model Trump - would be seen as losers by the president. But so much for commenting on Trump. Give us the study, even if only at a journalistic leve. Only-NeverInSweden.blogspot.com Citizen US SE 13:23 h GMT 2020-10-15
Brad Burns (Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico)
Why is it the American people can’t or won’t behave like there is a pandemic? Is it really so hard? It is weakness of character or affluenza? This virus is as easy to predict as gravity
PD (fairfield, ia)
Why is there a limit of 50? Once you've invited 2 guests to an indoor venue, or outdoors without social distancing, you're all at risk. And sadly, no amount of infections, quarantines, or deaths will convince people of the risk and dangers of super-spreading. YES we are all fed up with the virus. And we're all desperate to party and return to work or school and retire our masks and shields. But as long as people refuse to rally a little discipline until we have reliable treatments and resistant measures, we're all doomed. It would be terrible if all this rebellious behavior led to a more drastic shutdown. The party animals would have only themselves to blame.
BldrHouse (Boulder, CO)
@PD I was just about to ask the same question -- no, make a statement to that effect: 80 is not ok but 50 is? That is simply absurd; any such large -- more than just family -- event is a super spreader and we all (apparently except those who live and work in the White House) know it. Enough of this American "freedumb:" France is getting truly serious about stopping the spread by imposing a nightly curfew. While we know what the reactions would be here (my response: "TOUGH, you asked for it"), we could at least pretend to be serious about this once again frighteningly-increasing threat to our lives and economic well-being by imposing some serious rules.
Judy (NY)
A $12,000 fine does not begin to compensate the community for the harm this intentional flouting of the law has caused the community. Fines should be increased at least ten fold. And why is the name of the family that hosted the party kept confidential? These are law breakers. Everyone who caught the virus at this superspreader event should sue the inn, the owners and the family.
Paul Dobbs (Vosges, France)
@Judy Guests would readily have seen, as they stood on the threshold, or even sooner, that precautions were not being taken. Those guests who stayed are also complicit and would have no right to sue anyone for damages.
peter (NY)
@Judy $20,000 & $12,000 in fines administered, during a pandemic with over 215,000 fatalities? Triple it!
Invited guests are responsible for themselves. They could have walked out when they realized how large the party was. It’s the workers I feel for. If any of them are sick their employers should have to pay compensation and damages!
dd (East Coast)
Two disparate thoughts: 37 infected but did any of them actually become ill? But also, 80 is unsafe but 49 is safe? If it is indoors and if it involves likely dancing and singing then do not do it, period. Or allow anything and let the thing run its course. But don't do these half rules.
Seri (PA)
@dd Even asymptomatic people can have chronic problems later.
SJC (Iowa)
My granddaughter had a beautiful Quinceanera two years ago (pre Covid19 ) that was held outside at a family owned ranch in the country. This is a celebration of a girl turning fifteen years old in the Mexican tradition, a coming of age event. These parties are usually held in expensive halls but they wanted something less expensive and different. The dancing floor was built by my son and friends from repurposed lumber. Friends and family brought dishes to share. My son cooked the wonderful barbecue. The cake and her dress were the largest expenses. Everyone would have been safe even if this were to be held today. These milestone events are important to acknowledge and celebrate but can be held safely even during this pandemic using a little fore thought and creativity. Family and friends had a wonderful time.
Timty (New York)
@SJC If the event you describe were to be held today, to be held today, no one would have been safe. Some events need to be postponed, out of love, for the common good.
ms (ca)
@SJC NO, the type of event you described cannot be safely held now. I tell you this as a health professional. I had a colleague who passed away this year and his family postponed the in-person memorial service until next year. They held a Zoom meeting in the interim. My colleague would have wanted it that way: he was a lawyer specializing in public health. A well known/ liked man who would likely have had hundreds of people at his funeral. People see to think viruses care what they think: they don't. They just want to find the next host to reproduce and spread. That's the thing about biology: it's not a product made by people (like politics, law, etc.). We don't control it especially when we don't understand it. Being careful like washing hands and wearing masks can greatly DECREASE the chance of transmission but it is hardly a guarantee. Imagine someone ended up sick, hospitalized, dead, or suffering long-term consequences because of your event (and they do, we're seeing patients still sick in their 6th month), how would you feel? For me, it would be a tremendous amount of guilt, especially since any party is not more important than someone's health.
Zenster (Manhattan)
If invited, we would not have attended, knowing what could (and did) happen. Still, I understand the desire for a "sweet 16" party. With the planet burning up, this sweet 16 teen has 30 years tops = will only live to 46 - thanks to? exactly the same kind of people ewho went to this party.
Elizabeth Connor (Arlington, VA)
Yes, the owner of the inn and the family that hosted the party are both, yes, deplorable. But, but...people can count. I suspect more than a few people at the party were aware they were at an event larger than allowed by law. These days, I quickly leave situations that look dicey, even when people are complying with the letter of the law.
Michele506a (New York)
I don't understand the selfishness of people who refuse to abide by rules meant to keep people well. I guess in some people's worlds partying is more important than stopping a virus. As Governor Cuomo said, not so sweet.
Joe (in California)
It's not as if limiting capacity to 50 people would be safe either.
Kathleen (New York, NY)
"Mr. Cuomo also threatened on Wednesday to withhold state funds from local governments that failed to enforce school closings and other restrictions in areas with high infection rates,..." While I agree with our Governor on this point, I don't understand how it differs from Trump's threats to withhold federal funds if NY State doesn't open schools.
Bratschegirl (Bay Area)
Really? You don’t see a difference between forcing a school district to take action that will expose its students and staff and their families to needless risk, and action that will prevent such exposure?
Kathleen (New York, NY)
@Bratschegirl I do see the difference and I agree that schools should remain closed. I don't have a school-aged child so it's eas(ier) for me to say this without having to manage the difficult situation. But I am honestly confused by why it is sometimes okay to withhold funding and other times not. Might my lack of understanding of the state and federal funding process?
Salix (Sunset Park, Brooklyn)
@Kathleen Umm, I am a bit confused. You think that forcing schools to reopen amid a pandemic is the same as restricting large gatherings like indoor Sweet 16 parties during the same pandemic? Perhaps you "mis-wrote"?
Marie (Upstate NY)
Instead of a fine, why not have the facility liable for the medical expenses of those who attended and needed medical help...
Frances (Ontario, Canada)
@Marie And how about lost wages for people who need to quarantine?
Jean (Cleary)
@Frances If they attended the party, I would say that that is the risk they took
Elizabeth Greenstein (New York, NY)
Yes, fine the owners of the venue, but why isn’t the family whose event it was being fined, too? They were the ones insisting on having the party, they were the ones with the 80-person guest list, they were the ones who put their friends and family at risk. I was honestly surprised that the reporter makes no mention of them and their complicity. “The customer is always right,” the saying goes, and I have no doubt that the family pushed the owners of the venue to have an event that they all knew could become a problem.
Mary A (Sunnyvale, CA)
With the way social media users punish people, I’m glad they didn’t post the family’s name.
Jerry Schulz (Milwaukee)
@Elizabeth Greenstein - And of course 80 people chose to attend. So there's plenty of blame to go around. We need better collective intelligence as we continue to muddle through this. Forgetting the restaurant for a moment, in situations like this parents should be wise enough to have a toned-down party or maybe instead start thinking about a Sweet 17 party. This issue is huge for those who want to get married, but let's give credit to the thousands of wise couples and their families who have acted responsibly with their wedding plans. And guests also need to be wise enough to know when to diplomatically simply decline an invitation. Let's just look forward to a day not that far off when we can once again do some do-it-yourself smores without putting anyone at risk of contracting a fatal illness.
Metastasis (Texas)
@Elizabeth Greenstein : If somebody drinks and drives they get charged with criminal negligence, because they risk the lives of others. Shooting a gun into the air can often be charged similarly, for the same reasons. How is this different? This even is an example of how the US has failed in its pandemic response. And the penalty is classic America: a financial slap on the risk for a venue that probably charged way North of $20,000. Maybe $50,000? Hard for me to know what the upper crust pays for such indulgences. This and other things make me want to tax the living hell out of the ultra wealthy. The US has created a de facto nobility.
Lyle Ross (Houston)
If you are going to financially punish someone for breaking a public safety law, the fine should be equal to the damage done. The cost of 37 infected people, some who will wind up in hospitals, is significantly more than a paltry $12,000.
Frances (Ontario, Canada)
@Lyle Ross Add the lost wages for anyone who needs to quarantine...
Julie (PNW)
@Frances I guess that’s the price they’ll have to pay for the foolishness of having participated?
ms (ca)
@Rose It's not zero. We know that already. Where did you think the PCR tests came from? Who did you think did the tracking? Who do you think are monitoring the infected? Are they ALL going to be asymptomatic? Stats currently say about 60% will become symptomatic in at least a "mild" way although "mild" isn't turning out to be all that mild. It just means they won't be hospitalized by have you read the news? These people can still be sick long-term. We don't live in a world of fairy tale godmothers that bestow a test with a wave of a wand nor uncompensated, tireless elves who will track/ see patients. We're already paying...maybe not visibly to you but certainly to the medical/ public health system. Eventually that translates to higher insurance premiums and higher taxes or less services.
Lady Edith (New York)
So about the same number of infections as have been reported from Trump's superspreader Rose Garden coming-out party for Barrett. (An undercount, to be sure, since many attendees won't share their status.) Can we impose a fine on him?
dlb (washington, d.c.)
@Lady Edith He'll have his fine imposed on him on November 3rd.
Richard Johnston (Upper west side)
@Lady Edith Executive immunity extends to infecting people with a lethal virus.
KT (Los Angeles)
@Lady Edith - Vote him out!
Tyler (Washington)
“...that would be holding Southampton to a different standard.” No, sir, increased accountability and oversight is providing stronger tools to manage this virus that your town has repeatedly demonstrated that it needs. When your town has lowered the bar for responsible human behavior amidst a global pandemic on multiple occasions, increased scrutiny serves to make sure you are meeting the same standard as other communities: it is resolving this double standard you have created and are living in where the pandemic rules don’t apply to you. When multiple super-spreader events happen in ONE town, you have proven you cannot be trusted to do your job independently, and you clearly need special attention from the adults in order to keep your citizens safe.
Karen (Long Island)
The obvious disdain for Dem. Gov. Cuomo is on full display on Long Island. Democrats may 'rule' the Electoral votes for NY but it's well known LI leans far more 'right'. Having done both the NY Primary and a local mid island South Shore town primary as a poll worker I was 'treated' to many offhand unprintable comments by voters that came in droves to counter the growing Dem influence in local politics! The major local election here on LI is the one to replace long time Congressional Diet. 2 which was held for almost 3 decades by Peter King. Dems basically gave up even running an opponent against him most years. Just endorsed by Newsday, effectively the 'only' newspaper on LI, Jackie Gordon has a chance to turn this Congressional seat blue for the first time with the slowly combusting campaign of 'you know who' and GOP anger at the inevitable is palpable here on LI. Three times in the last week my car has been passed 'aggressively', each time by middle aged or a bit younger white males driving 'loud, shiny, big & symbolic pick up trucks as they have viewed my back bumper littered w'many left leaning 'Equality', 'Unity', BLM & Environmental stickers. I am an ex big bus driver who would never be described as an 'old lady driver' even if I am an old white female and am usually the one who is passing other cars! That the cautious rules regarding the health us all are being ignored by many LI'ers comes as no surprise as I too have witnessed it frequently!
Jorge (Porge)
And people wonder why we're dying left and right.
Elise (NH)
How selfish can this teen's parents get? For shame. Lessons for this teen (which should have been taught at a much younger age by her parent but clearly were not): Actions have consequences. You are responsible for your actions. They affect you and others. Think of someone other than yourself. The world does not revolve around you. Be considerate of others. Had you learned any of this and applied what you learned, there wouldn't now be 37 people infected and 270 in quarantine, with more to come.
Lady Edith (New York)
@Elise I doubt a teen whose parents are throwing a catered party for 80 for a 16th birthday is learning much about how the world doesn't revolve around her. I moved here from a flyover state some years ago and still can't wrap my head around how much money is thrown at celebrations for these "milestone" childhood events.
Lou Good (Page, AZ)
@Elise In the Hamptons?! More like this: You are rich and white. You'll always be rich and white. Therefore, your actions will have no consequences and never will. Happy Birthday!
TTW (Westminster CO)
Donald Trump is not the only one who thinks just of himself. Selfishness is a rampant virus without a cure.
Sabo (Newton Massachusetts)
Said Southampton’s town supervisor, Jay Schneiderman “We haven’t seen anything in writing yet to that regard,” he said. “But that would be holding Southampton to a different standard.” Mr. Schneiderman is correct, but he neglects to say that it is a standard Southampton set for itself.
A.M.S. (Philadelphia, PA)
This article does have comments from the Inn owners and from patrons, and it's quite interesting that they Inn couldn't understand the limit was 50 or prevent there from being 80 attendees. The owners place the blame on the state and take none for themselves, as if it's not the spread of Covid that's driving shut downs. https://tbrnewsmedia.com/miller-place-inn-temporarily-closes-after-sla-concerns/
@A.M.S. - Prior to COVID, did the inn ignore any other health rules they found inconvenient?
Carl (Philadelphia)
I have heard that the vast majority if not all of the people who attended the Sweet 16 party were Republicans. So that’s ok in my book. They have suffered the consequences of their actions and now have to live by their decisions.
Eva (Princeton)
So many people are responsible. The venue because they took the job. They knew the attendance expected... The parents, to think that it was a good idea to have the party. And the parents who were OK to send their kids. If you aren't able to say "no" to children wanting to attend events like this, you are not doing your job.
Adrienne (Virginia)
Eighty people in a Restaurant and 37 end up with coronavirus, and we are supposed to want to send our kid to a jam-packed school with lousy ventilation serving 4,000 students? No, I don’t think so. Not without a decent vaccine that is mandatory.
mlbex (California)
@Adrienne There is no way school will be safe until there is a vaccine or until the pandemic has run its natural course. Keep your children home.
Jeremy (wisconsin)
The more bars and restaurants that continue to not follow the rules, the longer this will last and the places that are following the rules (my place)are the ones that will suffer the most economically. Follow the rules, stop being selfish, and this will be over.
James Ribe (Los Angeles)
In a democracy, it's very difficult for elected officials to say "no" to constituents. Whether it be a local party permit or a national giveaway like the Medicaid expansion, democratically elected officials feel a strong compulsion not to say "no" to the people who elected them.
Cathie Cruz (Providence, RI)
@James Ribe In a civil society citizens shouldn't need to turn to elected officials to tell them how to behave responsibly. Even when elected officials say no, some people do what they want anyway, firm in their selfish, entitled belief that it's "their right".
Bob R (Portland)
@James Ribe "a national giveaway like the Medicaid expansion" I'm not sure what all this has to do with the story, but how is expanding health care coverage "a national giveaway?"
Anne H (NYC)
@James Ribe I do not think your two examples have anything to do with each other. One saves lives of people who desperately need basic health care. The other is a Party, non essential and purely for entertainment.
Daniel B (Chicago)
10K spent to make the venue safe? 12K fine? People and government still think money overrides negligence and recklessness. It’s really not that easy to catch Covid, but it’s possible to make it very easy if you try. The virus doesn’t really care.
Mary A (Sunnyvale, CA)
It actually IS quite easy to catch COVID
Cathie Cruz (Providence, RI)
@Daniel B I'm curious. "not easy to catch covid"? what evidence do you base that on? The scientists repirt the R naught of the flu is 1.3, the R naught of covid is 2-2.5. Where are you getting your information?
Daniel B (Chicago)
@Cathie Cruz Allow me to clarify. Without taking precautions, it's very easy to contract Covid in a high risk setting such as this party or the oval office. I was trying to make the point that masks and avoidance of high risk settings make it very hard to get covid. Contagion is related to high risk exposure. Thanks for allowing me to explain.
There are fines for the venue, but how about for the partyers who booked the event?
Blue Heron (Philadelphia)
@PM Yes, I'm all for businesses who flout rules like this being fined. And even though money appears to be no object here, the hosts-clients and attendees of events like this should be fined as well. This is flagrant example of all around lack of personal responsibility and people who don't seem to care about being super spreaders.
Michael Katz (White plains, NY)
I was in Suffolk County visiting family. Indoor dining is filled to capacity, masks are kind of worn and the trump flags are flying high. No doubt Suffolk will see far bigger outbreaks with such carelessness. On the other hand, it’s clear that people just want to make a living, it wasn’t militant or angry, just people that need to work.
Rene (Washington)
@Michael Katz Right. And that is why civilized countries made sure that their governments covered payroll, which kept money in the pockets of families, and businesses functioning in a way that ensures long-term survivability. They minimized danger for their citizens, mandated lock-downs, and paid people to stay home. And those who are providing essential services were/are getting hazard pay, to compensate them for working through a pandemic. We, on the other hand, cut taxes to rich people, gutted our agencies that respond to these sorts of emergencies and have one party committed to not doing anything to help those in real, critical need. And winter is coming. Meanwhile, people are throwing parties. We all miss our families. We all miss normal times. Everyone needs financial stability. Just, sadly, only some of us behave like adults, listen to scientists, don't act abjectly butthurt when information changes, wear our masks, minimize contact. And worst of all, we have an administration that simply does not care about us, even remotely. They signal their disdain for us every single day. VOTE. And, some of it WAS militant and angry. Only that came from the right, who were stoked-up by Trump Hate (tm), while the rest of us were only grieving our normal lives, our futures, our present.
EJ (Stamford, CT)
@Michael Katz No doubt these people expect to be taken care of when they get sick. They expect medical professionals to wear masks so there is no excuse for not wearing a mask. Do it for your fellow citizens including your family.
Ignatius J. Reilly (N.C.)
@Michael Katz Wherever there is MONEY there are Right Wing Conservatives with an overblown senses of entitlement, morals aligning with Trump'a (or anybody money and power hungry) and willingness to hold on to that power and vote for him. Witness Orange County in CA. Suffolk Co. fits that description to a tee also.
trudds (sierra madre, CA)
The idea of sacrificing for the greater good might be a tough self for some, but how did people end up so ready for the viral edition of Russian roulette? I get that the odds for a group of healthy 16 year olds are pretty "good", but none of them has elderly friends or relatives, there's nobody involved in anyway with extra risk factors? Breaking news, this disease doesn't think you're that special.
Kyle Daniel (London)
@trudds If you think the odds of any game of russian roulette are the same as not only getting covid, but also dying of covid if you're under 70, then I hope to god you never walk into a casino.
Jorge (Porge)
I've seen the same trouble in my son's karate class, too. That's why I took him out. If you ask me, this is the nationwide ideology that Trump is not following, not vice versa. We have to grow up, OK?
Ken (New York)
@Jorge Your last sentence made me think of the WWII documentary "The War", currently being rebroadcast on PBS. The entire U.S. population either went to fight a war in a foreign land, or made sacrifices to support that war. Today, Americans are whining about being asked to wear a mask. Something has gone very wrong here.
Jorge (Porge)
I agree, @Ken, we've become whiny brats for the last 80 years.
The People's Elbow (New York)
@Ken Good point. The collapse of Western civilization continues unabated.
See also