BEIRUT: Amid a Cabinet-imposed lockdown to prevent the coronavirus spreading, Miss Lebanon 2015 Valerie Abou Chacra held her marriage party on Saturday despite wedding bans.
Abou Chacra, an actress, married Lebanese businessman Ziyad Ammar in an open-space wedding in Bkerke during which Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai led the nuptials.
The ceremony was followed by a wedding gala held for family and friends — flouting the nationwide lockdown.
Following a surge in coronavirus cases, the Cabinet decided on the lockdown with strict regulations imposed by the health and interior ministries, so Lebanese were taken aback when photos and videos of Chacra’s wedding party surfaced on social media.
People took to social media to criticize the former beauty queen whom they accused, along with her husband, of being socially irresponsible for violating the ban.
Meanwhile, other social media figures and users praised the “fancy and stylish” wedding.
Social media users censured the authorities for allowing Abou Chacra to carry on with her wedding celebration.
The weekend witnessed a flurry of media statements from different ministries about allowing some prescheduled wedding parties to go ahead within strict social distancing and protective measures.
In a televised interview with LBCI, Health Minister Dr. Hamad Hassan said that he had granted permission to seven wedding functions.
“We have to adapt and live the joys and sorrows, but with certain procedures,” he said.
However, the minister warned that in the case of any breach of procedures, the Interior Ministry would reconsider the exception.
Arab News contacted a Health Ministry official, who could not confirm whether Abou Chacra’s wedding was on the list of the seven exemptions.
The exemptions were granted to a specific number of weddings granted they met certain regulations, the official said.
“Part of the regulations were that the party be held outdoors, social distancing be respected and the number of invitees must be limited in accordance to the venue’s seating and accommodation,” he told Arab News.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Brig. Gen. Mohammad Fahmi’s media office released a statement confirming that social gatherings (including weddings) were strictly banned within the lockdown period.
Consequently, any permission granted from any authority would be withheld and strict measures taken against those violating regulations, the statement read.
TV presenter Youmna Sherry tweeted that law enforcement officers stopped Abou Chacra’s wedding, however this could not be independently confirmed.
Sherry tweeted that what happened to Abou Chacra during her wedding celebration was wrong as she deserved all the best.