The news is out: [PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A rural church wedding and reception on a beautiful day in the shadow of Mount Katahdin was no doubt a happy day. But it has spread misery ever since.
That single event on Aug. 7 is linked to outbreaks in at least two other locations in Maine, with more than 170 people contracting the virus and seven deaths since.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, said the single event has the power to undo much of the state’s progress during the pandemic. The virus can become “the uninvited guest at every single wedding, party or event in Maine,” he warned.
The “super spreader” event started with wedding attendees in the Katahdin region and spread to the community at large and to a nursing home in Madison. An attendee worked at the York County Jail, 220 miles (355 kilometers) away, where there are more than 70 cases. The state is also investigating an outbreak at a church in Sanford, home of the wedding’s officiant.
Across the state, brides and grooms scrambled as event venues reassessed safety rules during the pandemic. The reception venue lost its business license, briefly, and hired a public relations firm. The pastor hired a law firm that specializes in religious liberty.
There were 65 guests at the Big Moose Inn — violating the state’s 50-person limit for indoor events — and many attendees didn’t wear masks or socially distance from each other, state officials said. Other guests not affiliated with the wedding brought the number to more than 100.
The officiant at the wedding, the Rev. Todd Bell of Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, joined several members of his congregation. About 10 of his congregants also have tested positive for the virus. He declined to speak to The Associated Press.]
The bride has her day and her way, the guests pay the price. The coronavirus is now a must at many events, along with a public relations firm. Love, American style 2020.