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Andrew Cuomo faces class action lawsuit by New York wedding venues

New York wedding venues have launched a class action lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo for preventing facilities from hosting events that have more than 50 people, arguing an entire industry could collapse if the ban isn’t lifted.

Governor Cuomo ordered that all gatherings, including weddings, could not exceed 50 people because of Covid-19. Meanwhile restaurants, which were initially barred from indoor dining for the same reason, are now permitted to operate at 50 percent capacity. (New York City does not allow any indoor dining). 

Wedding and catering facilities have cried foul, demanding to be treated the same as restaurants, and last Friday Buffalo-based law firm Rupp Baase filed suit against Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James, Empire State Development Corporation and the State Liquor Authority, to challenge the ban. 

They are fighting for venues to be able to operate at half capacity – the same restrictions imposed on restaurants for indoor dining – arguing the ban is discriminatory and could put thousands out of business. 

Long Island-based Anthony Pellegrino, owner of Beach Club Estates in Ronkonkoma, could be one of those at-risk businesses. He told DailyMail.com he’s had to move 60 weddings to next year and postpone an additional 25 upcoming weddings. 

The 60-year-old said he can’t even begin to estimate how much money he’s lost due to Cuomo’s ban, saying: ‘It’s a nightmare. We have to wait for the smoke to clear, we aren’t even sure.

‘I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. This is far worse than anything I’ve gone through. I’m powerless and I’ve never been powerless before.’ 

New York wedding venues have launched a class action lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo for preventing facilities from hosting events that have more than 50 people, arguing an entire industry could collapse if the ban isn't lifted

New York wedding venues have launched a class action lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo for preventing facilities from hosting events that have more than 50 people, arguing an entire industry could collapse if the ban isn’t lifted 

Around 1,000 venues plan to join or have already joined the suit. The famed Oheka Castle and Estate (pictured) confirmed to DailyMail.com it supports the suit

Around 1,000 venues plan to join or have already joined the suit. The famed Oheka Castle and Estate (pictured) confirmed to DailyMail.com it supports the suit

The venue has hosted the blowout weddings of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, singer Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle Deleasa, as well as disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and his Hillary Clinton aide wife Huma Abedin

The venue has hosted the blowout weddings of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, singer Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle Deleasa, as well as disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and his Hillary Clinton aide wife Huma Abedin

The venue has hosted the blowout weddings of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly (left), singer Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle Deleasa (right), as well as disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and his Hillary Clinton aide wife Huma Abedin

Last Friday Buffalo-based law firm Rupp Baase filed suit against Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James, Empire State Development Corporation and the State Liquor Authority, to challenge the ban

Last Friday Buffalo-based law firm Rupp Baase filed suit against Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James, Empire State Development Corporation and the State Liquor Authority, to challenge the ban 

Pellegrino, who has owned Beach Club Estates for 20 years, is also an establishing partner of nearby Windows on the Lake. Both venues offer waterside views of Lake Ronkonkoma.

He said while each of his venues can hold more than 200 guests across indoor and outdoor areas, he’s only allowed to host 50 guests. 

Pellegrino is furious with the restrictions, demanding to know why restaurants are allowed to operate at half capacity but venues can’t.  

Long Island-based Anthony Pellegrino, owner of Beach Club Estates , told DailyMail.com he's had to move around 60 weddings to next year and has postponed an additional upcoming 25 weddings

Long Island-based Anthony Pellegrino, owner of Beach Club Estates , told DailyMail.com he’s had to move around 60 weddings to next year and has postponed an additional upcoming 25 weddings

He said: ‘We are in the same business, but we are being treated differently. What’s the reasoning? We are just expecting to be treated fair. 

‘Gyms have opened up at 33 percent. I’m happy with 33 percent, but we should really be at 50 percent.’ 

Anthony Rupp, the lead attorney of the class action suit, told DailyMail.com that wedding venues ‘are getting killed’ by the restrictions and causing the industry to lose businesses ‘by the day’. 

He estimates that more than 3,500 venues are being drastically impacted by the ban, adding they are ‘getting crucified’. 

Rupp explained that any wedding venue that has a capacity of 104 people or more is represented in the suit. 

Currently, the two named plaintiffs are Bill and Ted’s Riviera restaurant in Massapequa on Long Island and Diamond Mills Hotel and Tavern in Saugerties, upstate New York.  

But 1,000 venues are planning to join or have already joined the suit. 

The famed Oheka Castle and Estate in Huntington, Long Island confirmed to DailyMail.com it supports the lawsuit. 

The venue has hosted the blowout weddings of former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, singer Kevin Jonas and his wife Danielle Deleasa, as well as disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and his Hillary Clinton aide wife Huma Abedin.   

Pellegrino said he can't even begin to estimate how much money he's lost due to the order, saying: 'It's a nightmare. We have to wait for the smoke to clear, we aren't even sure. Pictured: Pellegrino's Beach Club Estates

Pellegrino said he can’t even begin to estimate how much money he’s lost due to the order, saying: ‘It’s a nightmare. We have to wait for the smoke to clear, we aren’t even sure. Pictured: Pellegrino’s Beach Club Estates 

Pellegrino is also an establishing partner of nearby Windows on the Lake (pictured). He's furious with the restrictions, demanding to know why restaurants are allowed to operate at half capacity but venues can't

Pellegrino is also an establishing partner of nearby Windows on the Lake (pictured). He’s furious with the restrictions, demanding to know why restaurants are allowed to operate at half capacity but venues can’t

Rupp explained the plaintiffs believe it’s unfair restaurants are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity for indoor dining – meaning a 400-person restaurant could host 200 people at one time. 

But as soon as the dinner service is labeled a ‘wedding’, that same venue would be barred from hosting the event, he said.

Rupp said: ‘The state has irrationally decided to discriminate against brides and grooms, their guests and wedding venues to make it impossible for these businesses to stay afloat. 

‘And literally they are going out of business by the day. By the day, these businesses are going out. ‘

He added: ‘No one wants to have a wedding with 50 people. The number of weddings with that many people are few and far between.

‘[Brides and grooms] are already kind of wigging out because they can’t dance, they can’t mingle. Even if they do have a guest list of 50 people, they are pulling out.’

Rupp claimed that weddings could possibly be safer than the regular turnover at a restaurant, saying: ‘When you have a wedding, if there is a a Covid outbreak, you have a guest list. You can contact trace. 

‘If you have 200 people at a restaurant and turn over those tables three times, then you might have 600 people in one night. Then if there is a Covid outbreak, you have trouble tracking them all down.’

The two named plaintiffs in the suit are Bill and Ted¿s Riviera restaurant in Massapequa on Long Island and Diamond Mills Hotel  (pictured) and Tavern in Saugerties, upstate New York

The two named plaintiffs in the suit are Bill and Ted’s Riviera restaurant in Massapequa on Long Island and Diamond Mills Hotel  (pictured) and Tavern in Saugerties, upstate New York

Rupp claimed that weddings could possibly be safer than the regular turnover at a restaurant, explaining: 'When you have a wedding, if there is a a Covid outbreak, you have a guest list. You can contact trace'

Rupp claimed that weddings could possibly be safer than the regular turnover at a restaurant, explaining: ‘When you have a wedding, if there is a a Covid outbreak, you have a guest list. You can contact trace’ 

In the suit, lawyers argue the cap on weddings is ‘enforced despite the fact that Defendants regularly permit and encourage closely packed gatherings of hundreds and thousands of people to protest the wrongful death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. 

‘These protests have been permitted across every major city in the State of New York and many smaller towns and villages since George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. 

‘Favored businesses, entities, and activities, as well as favored mass demonstrations such as those over the death of George Floyd, are exempt from the challenged gathering limits, while Defendants irrationally and capriciously continue to forbid weddings from taking place under the same rules in effect for restaurant dining.’ 

Rupp said venues are more than willing to enforce mask wearing, as well as no mingling and no dancing, if it meant they could resume business.

Rupp added that the plaintiffs would ‘drop the suit tomorrow’ if Cuomo eased up. 

But not all wedding venues agree with the suit. 

A representative from The Barn at Liberty Farms in Hudson, New York said the venue had rescheduled all weddings until next year, because it ‘seemed like the right thing to do’.

Wedding venues aren't the only ones suing over Covid-19 restrictions.  More than 300 restaurants have teamed up in a class action lawsuit seeking damages of $2 billion against New York City and New York state over the indoor dining restrictions

Wedding venues aren’t the only ones suing over Covid-19 restrictions.  More than 300 restaurants have teamed up in a class action lawsuit seeking damages of $2 billion against New York City and New York state over the indoor dining restrictions

They explained that while they are following all health and safety guidelines, they don’t believe they should be hosting weddings until it is safe to do so.  

In mid-August a large wedding was linked to 16 coronavirus cases detected in a single Brooklyn neighborhood.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said o officials had detected an uptick of COVID-19 cases in Borough Park – a neighborhood that has a large Hasidic Jew population.

Some of the 16 cases uncovered in Borough Park have been tied to a large wedding that had more than 50 guests, according to de Blasio.

Wedding venues aren’t the only ones suing over Covid-19 restrictions.

It came after Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was no plan for when indoor dining could resume

It came after Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was no plan for when indoor dining could resume

More than 300 restaurants have teamed up in a class action lawsuit seeking damages of $2 billion against New York City and New York state over the indoor dining restrictions.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance had demanded that de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo release a plan for when indoor dining can resume across the city. 

It came after de Blasio said there was no plan for when indoor dining could resume.

‘We are looking at it everyday, but we have to see a lot more improvement before we consider it,’ de Blasio said at his press conference.

‘There is no timeline.’

Indoor dining was part of phase three of Cuomo’s reopening plan for the state.

New York City entered phase three in early July but Cuomo and de Blasio have only so far allowed outdoor dining in NYC’s five boroughs.

Every other county in New York state are currently allowed to have indoor dining at reduced capacity. 

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