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Vogue deletes article about Martha's Vineyard wedding after health officials link it to Covid cases

The out-of-state couple married at Lambert's Cove Inn in West Tisbury on Oct. 11.
Sailboats and motorboats are anchored in Vineyard Haven harbor on June 28, 2020 in Tisbury, Mass. on the island of Martha's Vineyard.
Sailboats and motorboats are anchored in Vineyard Haven harbor on June 28, 2020 in Tisbury, Mass. on the island of Martha's Vineyard.Mark Lennihan / AP file

Vogue quietly deleted an article about a couple's wedding on Martha's Vineyard after it is suspected of being linked to a cluster of coronavirus cases on the island.

The fashion magazine ran a story earlier this week featuring the nuptials of Chelsea Keyes and Evan McDuffie, an out-of-state couple who married last month at Lambert's Cove Inn in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

In a Nov. 16 tweet, Vogue wrote: "Once Chelsea Keyes and Evan McDuffie had officially made the call to downsize their wedding amid the pandemic, they got to work on pivoting their original plans, choosing whenever they could to work with small, local and Black-owned businesses."

By Friday morning, the tweet had been deleted and the article appeared to be removed from the magazine's website.

The Martha's Vineyard Times reported that the Vogue story featured dozens of photos showing some of the guests at the outdoor wedding not wearing face masks. The Vogue story was apparently deleted after West Tisbury residents expressed concern about contact tracing on the island.

Omar Johnson, an agent with the West Tisbury board of health, told NBC News that there were 10 cases of Covid-19 linked to the wedding. Of those 10, eight of them isolated on the island — two were guests and six were workers.

A spokesperson for Condé Nast, Vogue's parent company, told NBC News in a statement that the editorial team "ensured that appropriate measures were being taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the event" before deciding to cover the story.

"However, as no gathering has zero risk, we found out afterward that guests had contracted Covid-19 — and believe they did at the wedding — and so the editorial decision was made to remove the piece," the spokesperson said.

Calls to numbers listed for Keyes and McDuffie were not immediately returned Friday. Keyes told Martha's Vineyard Times that there is no way to trace the cluster of cases to her wedding.

“As you are aware, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint the origin of the outbreak or where it stemmed from. There was a wedding the night before ours at the same venue, as well as many weddings during that weekend that were staffed and supported by a number of individuals," she told the outlet in an emailed statement.

"For our wedding specifically, we followed the protocol of the venue and the commonwealth of Massachusetts, including having an outdoor wedding with 40 guests, designating sanitization areas, and — as a welcome gift at the ceremony — gave out custom masks made by a local MV vendor. While we do not know the source of the outbreak, we deeply regret the impact it’s had on our guests, family, and the Island community."

At the time the ceremony was held, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had ordered that outdoor gatherings have no more than 100 people and that the local board of health needed to be notified if there were more than 50 people.

Visitors traveling from out-of-state were also required to quarantine for 14 days or show a negative coronavirus test, according to the outlet. Johnson said he does not know if the couple and their guests followed the order and said that because the wedding did not exceed the 50 person limit it was not reported to the agency ahead of time.

West Tisbury health agent Omar Johnson told the outlet that the wedding did not exceed the 50 person limit and therefore the agency was not notified about it ahead of time.

John and Keya Cain, the owners of Lambert's Cove Inn, said that they followed state and federal guidelines and made sure out-of-state guests were aware of the governor's order to quarantine.

The Cains said they could not require guests to produce a negative coronavirus test due to HIPAA laws.

"The intimate outdoors wedding featured briefly in Vogue magazine, which took place on Columbus Day weekend, consisted of an extended family group that was sharing living quarters off property as a 'bubble' of contacts," they said in a statement.

"It is our understanding that they only removed masks while eating and taking wedding photos for their Vogue article, and this only occurred outdoors."

The Cains said some of their staff tested positive for the virus, quarantined, and have since recovered.