An August wedding reception was held on August 7 in Millinocket, Maine. At least 147 Covid-19 cases and three deaths are now linked to the event. The cases have spread to a nursing home and a prison, Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison and York County Jail in Alfred, both more than 100 miles away from the venue. The jail is more than 220 miles away from the reception site. The wedding guests attended a reception at Big Moose Inn, according to Maine CDC. The Big Moose Inn is a 37-acre property that includes a restaurant, cabins and campgrounds near Baxter State Park. The inn has hosted weddings since the 1970s and can accommodate 100 guests in its Fredericka’s Restaurant. The wedding reception had approximately 62 guests, in violation of the state’s 50-person cap for indoor events. Guests mingled, danced and dined for hours.
They had their temperatures checked, but few wore masks or practiced physical distancing. Big Moose Inn staff said the participants misinterpreted the state’s rules on social distancing. Experts say the size of a gathering isn’t as important as where it’s located and how people interact when it comes to the spread of COVID-19. One person who has died didn’t attend the wedding and apparently contracted the virus from someone who did. “This demonstrates how aggressive and how opportunistic this virus is and how quickly it can move from one community to another, even if those communities are miles apart, separated by multiple counties in between,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.