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Vermont wedding barn linked to COVID outbreak

Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:44 PM EDT
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CAMBRIDGE, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s a call no business owner wants to get. A week after a wedding at a Cambridge farm, the Vermont Health Department told the owners of the venue that at least seven Vermonters in the party have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We have worked so hard to host any events all season long. To have only had three, and still we end up in this position,” said Lauri Boyden, the owner of Boyden Farm

The 77-person wedding on October 10th was scheduled to be outside, but a lightning storm forced the party inside. Health officials say the first confirmed case associated with the outbreak was reported eight days later. Six more followed in Vermont. And while Vermont doesn’t count out-of-state cases, officials say they know several non-Vermont residents who attended the wedding and also tested positive for COVID. “It’s real, and it’s there,” Boyden said.

Officials say the venue followed all proper precautions, including socially-distanced seating at the ceremony and during dinner. Staff also monitored the party throughout the event to remind guests to wear masks at all times.

Since her team was so diligent, Boyden says the news is both devastating and a massive blow to the business. As it is, the Barn at Boyden Farm only hosted three of 24 events on the books this season. “We’re all suffering. We all want to continue our businesses and have them be successful, but it’s very hard,” Boyden said.

She says her heart goes out to the essential workers who navigate these obstacles every day. Essential workers like Anastasia Zeglen, an employee at the Cambridge Elementary School.

“I think, as a social species, we need to be around each other,” Zeglen said. She says she recognizes the importance of spreading joy now more than ever. But gathering can come at a cost. “You can only do the best that you can do for yourself and for the people around you. If you’re taking risks, then there might be consequences.”

“Everything that I love is about social gathering, and we need to work hard to get through this together and come out better on the other side,” Boyden said.

She says barn staff has been tested and cleared of COVID, and that barn and vineyard staff do not interact, so that part of the property is still safely welcoming visitors.

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