New York health officials are investigating a concert played by The Chainsmokers in the Hamptons this past weekend after video surfaced showing a large group of fans flaunting the state’s COVID-19 safety protocols.
Drawing upwards of 3,000 attendees, the concert took place on Saturday night in a 100-acre lot on Long Island. Though billed as a drive-in concert with tickets assigned by vehicle, video footage from the event showed people outside of their cars, dancing together in close proximity to one another. Some attendees reportedly paid up to $25,000 for a VIP ticket which also offered amenities including a personal RV from which to watch the show, fancy prix-fixe meals, and a helicopter ride to and from the concert grounds.
Now, according to Page Six, New York health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has sent a letter to Southampton town supervisor Jay Schneiderman demanding more information regarding the event’s permitting and security. Schneiderman himself not only attended the concert, his band served as the opening act!
“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,” Zucker wrote.
“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,” he added.
Zucker demanded a response within 24 hours, adding, “Please be advised that all responses to these questions are a submission to a state department conducting an investigation, and any submission will be deemed to be a sworn statement.”
Schneiderman told Page Six that he is conducting his own investigation, and “as upset as anyone else.” He said his office issued permits specifically for a drive-in concert with the expectation that attendees would remain inside of or stand in close proximity to their respective vehicles. Meanwhile, in a separate interview with The Daily Beast, Schneiderman said he did not stay to see The Chainsmokers play, but did speak with two security guards about the need to enforce social distancing on his way out of the venue.
If the concert itself wasn’t egregious enough, there was a large afterparty drawing around 200 people inside of a private home. “The Chainsmokers were there and people were dying to get in,” a source told Page Six. “The line was crazy [with] hoards of people. The police apparently showed up three times.”
For its part, a representative for In The Know Experiences and Invisible Noise, which staged the concert, told The Daily Beast that there was a long list of safety measures in place, including temperature checks upon entry, bathroom cleanings every 10 minutes, obligatory masks, sanitizer stations, and designated sitting spaces placed 20 feet apart. Additionally, “people signed COVID waivers promising they had not had [flu-like symptoms] for the last two weeks and that they had not been around anyone with COVID for two weeks,” the representative maintained.
Both The Chainsmokers and event organizers could face citations and fines from multiple city departments.
The Chainsmokers had a “Drive-in” concert last night.
No social-distancing during a pandemic. We may be doomed…pic.twitter.com/rreahTaK0p
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) July 27, 2020
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