New York blocked a wedding with 175 expected guests from being held this weekend

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Joseph Spector, New York State Team
·2 min read
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Chelsea and Nate Jay maintained a sense of humor while posing for pictures on their wedding day  on March 22, 2020.
Chelsea and Nate Jay maintained a sense of humor while posing for pictures on their wedding day on March 22, 2020.

ALBANY, N.Y. – A federal appeals court Friday granted New York's attempts to block weddings from having more than 50 people.

The ruling thwarted efforts by at least one couple to have a large wedding this weekend and leaves in doubt any other weddings that exceed more than 50 attendees.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on June 24 loosened restrictions on gatherings to allow as many as 50 people to congregate as he slowly reopened the economy due to coronavirus.

Two western New York couples sued, arguing in part that the executive order is inconsistent with other orders that allows restaurants to have up to 50% of capacity.

On Aug. 7, the Buffalo-area couples successfully won a preliminary injunction blocking Cuomo's order, and on Wednesday, a district court judge denied the state's motion for a stay of the preliminary injunction.

So the state took its case to the federal appeals court in Manhattan and won an emergency stay Friday of the lower court's ruling so the case can be heard.

The move blocked a couple who sued from being married Saturday in Erie County with 175 people expected to attend, the court papers said.

The couple's attorney, Anthony Rupp, told the Times Union the wedding will be moved to a later date.

"We had won every stage of this thing, but the judge in the 2nd Circuit just cavalierly postponed it until Tuesday," Rupp said. "So we're very unhappy about this decision."

New York has the most deaths in the nation due to COVID-19 with about 25,300 deaths, but it has in recent months had among the lowest infection rates in the U.S.

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Cuomo has allowed most businesses to reopen, but has limited large gathering facilities, such as keeping closed casinos and movie theaters and putting occupancy and safety restrictions on restaurants and bars.

"We've been reopening for 14 weeks and our infection rate has actually done down — the positive test rate has been below 1% the past 14 days and the number of hospitalizations dropped below 500 for the first time since March 16," Cuomo said in a statement Friday.

"This is proof positive that when you have the virus under control, more testing does not equal more positives. But my message to New Yorkers remains the same: this is not over, we have to be smart, wear a mask, socially distance and be New York tough."

Follow Joseph Spector on Twitter: @GannettAlbany

This article originally appeared on New York State Team: New York gets court order to block large weddings, for now