Virginia wedding venue sues governor over COVID-19 guest capacity limits

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A wedding venue in Virginia is suing Gov. Ralph S. Northam over recent coronavirus orders that limit the number of guests for private event venues.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Belle Garden Estate earlier this month, is targeting the governor’s Executive Order 72. According to the ABC-affiliated news station WSET, the venue argues that provisions in the order discriminates against wedding event spaces.

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The three-time amended order limited private in-person gatherings like weddings to 10 people if the event was taking place indoors and 25 people if the event was taking place outdoors. Meanwhile, businesses that fell under the amusement and entertainment category were limited to 30% occupancy or 250 people for indoor events and 1,000 people for outdoor events, if applicable.

On Tuesday, March 23, Northam issued a COVID-19 briefing that ups private social gatherings to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Numeric caps were also removed from amusement and entertainment venues, but the 30% occupancy limit still remains.

Outdoor graduation ceremonies have been granted an even higher capacity limit of 5,000 people, but Northam noted these events must be done safely with adequate social distance.

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Representatives at Belle Garden Estate and the Virginia Governor’s Office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

However, the venue’s lawyer, Tim Anderson, is fighting to get Belle Garden Estate classified as an amusement and entertainment business, according to WSET.

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A hearing for the lawsuit will take place at the U.S. District Court of Western Virginia on Wednesday.

Belle Garden Estate’s lawsuit comes months after “superspreader” weddings made headlines in Maine, Washington and Ohio.

Belle Garden Estates (not pictured) is suing Virginia Gov. Ralph S. Northam over recent coronavirus orders that limit the number of guests for private event venues. (iStock)

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The state of Virginia has reported a little more than 607,115 positive coronavirus cases, which is ranks in 17th place out the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard.

Belle Garden Estate is located in Wirtz, an unincorporated community in Franklyn County, Va. The county only has 3,806 reported coronavirus cases at the time of publication.

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The historic colonial-style wedding venue sits on 10 acres of land and has a space for lodging, according to WeddingWire.

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