As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, authorities in New York City said they found nearly 400 people partying in a midtown Manhattan building early Saturday morning. The event was at least the third party bust in the city within a week.
Four people who organized the illegal event were charged with violating the state’s emergency order that prohibits mass gatherings amid the pandemic. There were also charges related to an arrest warrant and for operating without a liquor license, the NYC Sheriff’s Department said.
A photo shared by the sheriff’s department on Twitter shows dozens of liquor bottles at the scene.
Mass parties have become a common issue for the city’s law enforcement.
Just two days earlier, another illegal bottle club of more than 76 people in Corona, Queens, was broken up by sheriff’s deputies. The event was also operating without a liquor license, leading to five organizers being charged with various offenses, authorities said.
The weekend before that, authorities said they broke up an 80-person sex club in Astoria, Queens, and a 120-person party in midtown Manhattan. Those events also were taking place without liquor licenses.
COVID-19 cases in New York City ― once the nation’s coronavirus hotspot ― have been rising since October. The increase follows cases largely trending downward beginning in late April.
Over the last four weeks, the city has reported a weekly average of 8,260 new cases and 555 hospitalizations. Confirmed deaths of people with a positive virus test are roughly double what they were back in September but have begun trending downward in recent weeks.
Health officials have warned that cases are likely to surge over the next several weeks due to holiday gatherings and lower temperatures bringing more people inside where the virus is more likely to spread.