According to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle, ten members of a wedding party -- including the bride and groom -- have tested positive the COVID-19 virus after first sneaking into a church and then finishing up on an outside basketball court in defiance of city ordinances.
Without naming the couple, the report notes that some guests who attended the secretive wedding then left the Bay Area by plane, returning to Nashville, Arizona and San Diego -- potentially infecting fellow passengers.
The Chronicle reports that church leaders at SS Peter and Paul’s Church, in North Beach were warned just days before by health officials about the potential dangers of gatherings but that didn't stop them from helping to organize the wedding including spiriting an estimated 100 guests in through a back door from an underground parking lot.
According to the report, the wedding had just begun when a city official broke it up and the couple moved outside without their guests who watched the ceremony finish via Zoom.
Told about the event, UC Berkeley infectious disease expert John Swartzberg called it infuriating.
“This is the perfect example of why public health officials have been trying to convince people of the problems with getting together in crowds,” he explained. “And I would be shocked if we didn’t see this consequence. This should be the poster child in why people should take responsibility.”
As for their defense, church officials said the stop order came too close to the wedding and they attempted to work with the families to limit the number of guests.
While the bride and groom did not return calls for comments, one attendee described on Instagram what happened on the wedding day, writing: "Down to the final 30 minutes before ceremony, [the bride] waiting excitedly in the bride room of the church, and the news comes in ... an official from the city is here telling them they can’t get married in the church. (All the while, across the street is a huge park filled with people, not wearing masks and not social distancing, but that was OK.) This beautiful church holds over 800 ... there was 80 people attending the wedding.”
"The night before the wedding, about 40 people attended a rehearsal dinner at Harborview Restaurant and Bar, where they ate outside on the Embarcadero Center roof-deck that overlooks the Ferry Building. Masks were not worn, and distancing was not observed," a Harborview guest told the Chronicle.