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Genesee County Health Department working to shut down large wedding

Cease and desist tag posted after anonymous tip of big wedding plans at an undisclosed location
Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 6:19 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - For the last several weeks, Genesee County has seen a steady uptick in COVID-19 cases with about 200 to 300 more confirmed every day.

Interim County Health Director Jim Henry said the biggest issue is people acting like the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t exist. One example of that is a big wedding planned in Genesee County this weekend in violation of a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order banning large gatherings.

Henry said his office got an anonymous call this week, notifying the Genesee County Health Department of a wedding taking place this weekend that is expected to have more than 100 guests. The health department is working to stop it, but officials don’t know the couple getting married.

Henry wouldn’t name the wedding facility or its location, but he said his office spoke with the venue and learned they’re still proceeding with the event. County health officials visited the venue Friday and now there’s a big orange cease and desist tag on the front doors.

“We’re taking it very seriously and we want to prevent any more COVID cases,” Henry said. “It’s frustrating, because we know what could happen as a result of this event. It happened in the past and it has an impact on our community.”

He pointed out that an indoor wedding reception with more than 100 guests in Flushing last August, when COVID-19 levels were much lower, was responsible for spreading several cases of the illness. As case numbers climb, Henry said masking up and practicing social distancing are key.

That is the reason why Michigan is in a three-week economic pause with enhanced restrictions until next Wednesday. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services only allows outdoor gatherings of 25 or fewer people statewide. Indoor gatherings are limited to no more than two households.

The next step for the Genesee County Health Department to prevent the wedding gathering from taking place is another visit to the facility Saturday with another cease and desist order. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan Liquor Control Commission may get involved, as well.

The venue hosting the wedding could lose its liquor license and face a fine of $1,000 per day when they’re not in compliance with the state epidemic orders.

Henry said this effort is to keep the whole community safe.

“For many people, the symptoms are not that bad. But for for vulnerable populations, it can be it can be deadly,” he said. “So, that’s the main reason why we’re why we’re trying to enforce this so strictly.”

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