NY Authorities Investigating Concert That Allegedly Violated Social Distancing Rules

July 28, 2020 Updated: July 28, 2020

New York authorities are investigating a concert that allegedly violated strict measures put into place amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said he saw videos from the concert, which was held in Southampton on Saturday, and directed the state Department of Health to open a probe.

Video footage showed “egregious social distancing violations,” Cuomo said on social media.

“I am appalled,” he wrote. “We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.”

The concert, headlined by The Chainsmokers, took place at Nova’s Ark Project. Organized by In the Know Experiences, the concert was supposed to be entirely drive-in, with custom 20 x 20 areas for people to park their vehicle and enjoy the music on their own blankets and chairs.

“We are excited about this opportunity as with the current situation in the country people do want to get out of their homes and experience things that they are used to experiencing, but doing them in the RIGHT & SAFE way,” organizers said on the event page.

Other precautions included asking people to admit if they’d tested positive for COVID-19 in the past and self-monitor themselves for symptoms of the disease for the two weeks leading up to the concert.

Epoch Times Photo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a mask during a briefing in New York City, on July 6, 2020. (David Dee Delgado/Getty Images)

There was room for 600 vehicles, organizers said.

The organizers told news outlets on Monday that they worked with state and local health officials in planning the event. The concert followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines, they said.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who performed with his band at the event, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Schneiderman, a Democrat, told the East Hampton Star that the town would be citing the event organizers for violating the permit they received.

“As proposed to us, it met the guidelines. However, the organizers didn’t strictly adhere to it,” he said late Monday. “It’s unfortunate, because we’re trying to raise money for charity and trying to find ways for people to come together safely.”

New York is currently in phase four of Cuomo’s reopening plan. Under the restrictions, social gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, as well as indoor religious gatherings at 33 percent of the site’s capacity.

Protests in the thousands have taken place in New York City in recent weeks, but no organizers or participants have been cited.

“I stand behind the protestors and their message,” Cuomo said last month.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, announced on July 9 that all large events through September would be canceled, except for demonstrations and religious events.

“You’re talking about health, we would always say, ‘Hey folks stay home if you can,'” he said during an appearance on CNN. “But we understand this moment in history, people are talking about the need for historic change.”

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