White House Chief of Staff Flouted Covid Rules for Atlanta Wedding

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and his wife, Debbie Meadows, walk down the aisle at their daughter’s wedding on May 31 in Atlanta. (Courtesy of Ember Studio via AP)

ATLANTA (CN) — White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly hosted a large wedding for his daughter in May in Atlanta that appeared to violate city and state coronavirus restrictions prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people.

Approximately 70 guests, including Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, attended the May 31 indoor wedding at Biltmore Ballrooms in Atlanta, according to a report published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

Photos reviewed by the newspaper reportedly show that attendees hugged and danced to a live band before sitting down for a three-course dinner. Guests did not wear masks even though the wedding took place at the height of the pandemic.

The White House did not respond to an emailed request for comment Thursday afternoon.

At the time of the wedding, Georgia was under a May 12 emergency executive order signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp which banned gatherings of more than 10 people in a single location where people cannot socially distance.

The order allowed groups of more than 10 people to gather “if their grouping is transitory or incidental, or if their grouping is the result of being spread across more than one single location.”

A May 27 order issued by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms similarly prohibited more than 10 people to be “gathered at a single location if such gathering requires persons to stand or be seated within six (6) feet of any person” in the city.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, photos of the wedding showed groups of people clustered closely together in the same room throughout the event.

Novare Events, a company which manages special events at the Atlanta venue, insists that it has abided by all government mandates and precautions while holding events during the pandemic.

Myrna Antar, president of Novare Events, told Courthouse News on Thursday that the company verified it would be “acting lawfully and in compliance with the governor’s order” before allowing the wedding to go forward.

Noting that the order introduced a formula for restaurants which defined a “single location” as 300 square feet of public space, Antar said the wedding did not violate the restrictions because there was ample space inside the venue for guests to socially distance.

“While we do not comment on client’s events, we can confirm that the entire 16,000 square feet of the space was reserved for this small wedding – greatly exceeding the per person square footage allowed by the order,” Antar said.

Meadows has been criticized for his White House leadership in the past week as a Covid-19 outbreak raged through the West Wing, infecting the president, First Lady Melania Trump, senior adviser Stephen Miller, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and other White House staff members.

The spate of positive cases has been linked to a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony announcing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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