The New York State Department of Health is investigating a concert headlined by the Chainsmokers in the Hamptons over the weekend, which appeared to violate social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines.
The Safe and Sound charity event was touted as a drive-in concert where guests would be allowed to sit outside their cars in designated areas that were at least six feet apart. The Chainsmokers headlined the show, which also featured performances from DJ D-Sol — the stage name of Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon — singer-songwriter Matt White, and Southampton town supervisor Jay Schneiderman and his band.
Per the New York Times, organizers — In the Know Experiences and Invisible Noise — said they’d followed “all proper and current protocols” related to stemming the spread of COVID-19, including temperature checks. Some of the reported 2,000 attendees also spoke with Buzzfeed News and said they felt safe during the concert, that there were dividers separating sections and that people were social distancing properly.
Still, a handful of videos from the July 25th concert soon went viral on social media, in part because they seemed to show packed crowds with few people wearing masks. On Monday night, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted one clip, saying: “Videos from a concert held in Southampton on Saturday show egregious social distancing violations. I am appalled. The Department of Health will conduct an investigation. We have no tolerance for the illegal and reckless endangerment of public health.”
Videos from a concert held in Southampton on Saturday show egregious social distancing violations. I am appalled.
The Department of Health will conduct an investigation.
We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.pic.twitter.com/gf9kggdo8w
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 28, 2020
Additionally, on Monday, New York State Department of Health Commissioner, Howard A. Zucker, sent a letter to Jay Schneiderman — the same town supervisor who’d played the concert — that read in part: “I am greatly disturbed by reports concerning the ‘drive-in’ concert held in your town this past weekend, which apparently involved thousands of people in close proximity, out of their vehicles, a VIP area where there was no pretense of a vehicle, and generally not adhering to social distancing guidance. I am at a loss as to how the Town of Southampton could have issued a permit for such an event, how they believed it was legal and not an obvious public health threat.”
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The letter demanded answers to a handful of questions, including whether the town issued a permit for the concert, and whether that permit adhered to state guidelines regarding COVID-19. Zucker also asked for information regarding security presence and “what town officials were at the concert and why was it allowed to continue when it became clear violations were rampant?”
The Department of Health did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment regarding any further information or updates tied to these questions. Schneiderman also did not immediately return a request for comment.