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The Atlanta wedding, hosted by a top Trump adviser, broke the city’s curfew



Just days earlier, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had put in curfew to keep order and emergency calls rang on cell phones in the city to warn residents, “please stay home.”

It wasn’t an option for Michael Ward. He and his brother Ted worked as caterers for the upscale event, which was attended by more than 70 guests who gathered at the upscale venue – without a mask or with social distancing. Both said the participants left well after 9 p.m.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows held a wedding for his daughter on May 31 at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Atlanta. About 70 guests attended the wedding, although the event was held while a nationwide ordinance was in place that limited gatherings to no more than 10 people in an effort to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The celebration also lasted beyond a 9:00 p.m. curfew put in place by the city of Atlanta at a time when protesters were gathering in the streets to protest the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

Photo credit: Alex Brandon

Photo credit: Alex Brandon

“It was a situation where I felt that these were the elites who had their way,” said Michael Ward. “They do one thing and they tell us to do something else. It was that kind of feeling. They were a bunch.” of liars and hypocrites. “

Ted Ward recalls arriving at the venue early thinking it was a minor event – and then discovered it was for one of the most powerful men in Washington when protests raged outside. He called it an “elitist insult”.

“It was a very large gathering and not one person in the entire group had a mask,” he said. “I was offended that I was asked to wear a mask and others didn’t, and they openly flaunted the rules set by the administration.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the wedding “makes fun of this pandemic and the people who are getting sick and the people who are dying.”

Bottoms told CNN that while she understood the need for weddings and other celebrations, she was concerned that no one appeared to be wearing a mask.

“It was a total disregard for what we asked of the people in our city and state back then,” said the mayor.

A Meadows spokesman declined repeated requests for comments on the wedding on Wednesday and Thursday, apart from saying that the guests had long been absent at the time of the curfew.

Ted Ward, a caterer for White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows held at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Atlanta for his daughter May 31, said the guests were not taking precautions for Covid-19, despite all event staff wearing masks throughout and had to wear gloves. He called it an “elitist insult”. (Jenni Girtman for the Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Photo credit: Jenni Girtman

Photo credit: Jenni Girtman

The president of Novare Events, which manages special events at the Biltmore and other venues, said Thursday that the company had verified prior to the event that it would act “lawfully and in accordance with Kemp’s orders.”

“While we do not comment on customer events, we can confirm that the entire 16,000 square feet has been reserved for this small wedding – far more than the square footage per person allowed per order,” said Myrna Altar.

She did not respond to a request for comment on why the event violated the city’s curfew.

While legions of Georgia National Guard officers and troops were stationed at Centennial Olympic Park and Lenox Square Shopping Center – some units fired tear gas to enforce the curfew – maskless wedding attendees dined and danced in the ballroom.

Staff say when the curfew went into effect, they distributed pieces of dessert on ceramic spoons. According to the itinerary, the bash ended with a final rendition of “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang just before 10pm

Workers at the wedding of the daughter of the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows’ daughter, said they were worried about how they would get home if the May 31 event went beyond a 9 p.m. curfew in Atlanta . (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson)

Photo credit: Brynn Anderson

Photo credit: Brynn Anderson

Meanwhile, some employees looked nervously at their smartphones as they worried about driving home.

“We received a text about the curfew when we were at the party,” said a third employee, who asked for anonymity for fear of losing his job. “I was worried: will I get in trouble because I had to break the curfew because I was working on the chief of staff’s wedding?”

After the AJC reported details of the wedding, social media was flooded with local residents sharing stories of canceled family events and funerals only online in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly disease. Many said they felt betrayed by Meadows.

“We were absolutely heartbroken not to celebrate with our friends and family this spring,” said Casey Baird, who has postponed a May 16 wedding in Atlanta and has not yet set a new date.

“The boldness and disregard the Meadows family showed – they just hit us to the core,” added Baird. “It’s been a tough day in this household, but the truth must always come out.”

Barrett Polan also planned his wedding for Atlanta on Memorial Day weekend. But after the pandemic started and events across the country halted, he and his fiancée decided to postpone the event.

“And we just had to be guided by what was safest and what was right,” he said.




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