New York’s governor says he is “appalled” by videos showing crowds standing close together at a Hamptons concert featuring electronic music duo The Chainsmokers over the weekend.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state Department of Health will investigate “egregious social distancing violations”.
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“We have no tolerance for the illegal reckless endangerment of public health,” reads the governor’s Monday night tweet.
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
The Saturday night concert – called “Safe and Sound” – was billed as a charity drive-in show where Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s band also performed.
The event was attended by concert-goers in some 600 cars, some of which paid up to $25,000 for parking spaces. It is the first in a series of such concerts planned for the United States, according to its organiser’s website.
Cuomo shared a social media video, which has more than six million views, that showed crowds of people standing and swaying near the stage. The video shows attendees who appeared to be wearing masks, but many individuals were standing closer than two metres (six feet) apart.
Solomon, who performs under the name DJ D-Sol, opened the concert with an hour-long set. “The group that put this together did an incredible job in a difficult environment,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Goldman Sachs spokesman Jake Siewart said Solomon “performed early and left before the show ended”.
“The vast majority of the audience appeared to follow the rules, but he’s troubled that some violated them and put themselves and others at risk,” Siewart said in an emailed statement.
The governor’s criticism comes as he argues local governments largely in downstate New York have failed to enforce social distancing and mask rules. State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker chided Schneiderman in a Monday letter and questioned how Southampton could have issued a permit for an event that posed a public health threat.
The organisers said in a statement that they collaborated with all state and local health officials and that the concert followed US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
New York was the early epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak and has recorded more COVID-19 deaths than any other US state.
Profits from the event will go to several local charities, according to Billboard.