DETROIT (AP) — An indoor wedding reception in southeastern Michigan that had more than 100 people in attendance and was in violation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order regulating such gatherings has been linked to five confirmed COVID-19 cases, officials said Wednesday.
Wayne County’s Public Health Division is investigating the July 18 event at Crystal Gardens Banquet Hall in Southgate, about 18 miles (29 kilometers) southwest of Detroit.
Those confirmed to have the coronavirus have been instructed to self-isolate. Wayne County’s communicable disease team is reaching out to others who attended to see if there are more potential cases.
The reception was in violation of Whitmer’s executive order limiting the number of people attending indoor events, county officials said in a release. The order limits attendance to no more than 10 indoors and 100 outdoors.
Notifications were being sent to all banquet halls in the county “reaffirming the rules” of the order, the county said. Inspections at banquet halls and other large venues also will be increased.
“The safety and protection of Wayne County residents is our top priority,” said Carol Austerberry, county health officer. “Businesses must be intentional about following the rules to limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
Michigan has more than 79,100 confirmed virus cases. More than 6,170 deaths have been attributed to complications from the disease.
Mort Meisner, a spokesman for the banquet hall, said the facility holds 1,200 people and that those attending the event practiced social distancing. They arrived about noon and left by 3:30 p.m., he said.
“There was no dancing, no partying. It was a lunch,” Meisner said. “It had been scheduled a number of months ago. Many of our events have moved into October, November, December. Some, if applicable, are held outside in a city park.”
“ … We don’t see any difference in equating a small event of 100 people versus a restaurant who is also practicing social distancing, carefully,” said Meisner, president of Mort Meisner Associates.
Meanwhile, at least one person in the only residence hall open this summer on Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing has tested positive for the virus.
The school’s housing office told students Monday night in an email that people in Holmes Hall were confirmed to have to the virus. The number of confirmed cases was not included.
School officials declined to say how many students tested positive.
Michigan State spokesman Dan Olsen said students who test positive for the virus must relocate to buildings reserved for self-isolation housing. Their rooms in Holmes Hall will be cleaned and sanitized.