Many, many people have had to cancel or drastically change their birthday plans this year. Parties were cancelled or switched to Zoom parties or drive-by car parade parties. It’s certainly not ideal to skip a child’s birthday party, but it is definitely the safest option in the age of COVID-19.

Especially when a birthday is a significant one, like a 1st birthday party or a Sweet 16, it can be very disappointing not to celebrate with family and friends as originally planned. Some people have decided to move forward with their party plans despite current safety guidelines.

The Millard Inn, which is located on Long Island in New York, holds many events including weddings and Sweet Sixteen birthday parties. On the website, the Sweet Sixteen events are described as follows:

“Your child’s Sweet Sixteen or Quinceañera is one the most important birthdays she will have in her life. Make sure her day is amazing by planning a celebration that she and her friends will reminisce on for years to come. The Miller Place Inn is proud to be one of Long Island’s premier sweet sixteen venues. Let us help you make her special day unforgettable.”

For one family, the day will certainly be unforgettable, but not because of the fun had at the party. No, this day will be memorable due to the aftermath.

New York currently has a cap on gatherings at 50 people due to the novel coronavirus. This cap is to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Recently, a sweet 16 birthday party at The Millard Inn in Long Island exceeded that 50 person limit. The event included a total of 81 guests. There were 32 adults and 49 students. 

After the party, a total of 37 people ended up testing positive for COVID-19. Only 29 of those people attended the party. The other people were close friends and family of the party guests.

According to a news release, “After initiating comprehensive contact tracing investigations, the Health Department determined that the cases were connected to the Sweet 16 party held at the Miller Place Inn on September 25th.”

The party resulted in hundreds of people being quarantined and The Millard Inn receiving a fine for $12,000.

Suffolk Country Executive Steve Bellone said, “This was an egregious violation and should serve as a stark reminder of the consequences that exist for flouting COVID-19 protocols. These rules and regulations exist for a reason – to keep New Yorkers safe – and we all have an obligation to act responsibly.”

Sweet Sixteen parties are still being advertised on The Millard Inn’s website. Hopefully future events will include fewer guests and stronger safety measures.