Following their hibernation period, The Chainsmokers made their first appearance in months, performing what was supposed to be a socially distanced charity concert in Southampton.
However, the New York Department of Health is now investigating the event in response to multiple violations of COVID-related CDC guidelines.
Headlined by The Chainsmokers and featuring performances by DJ D-Sol, singer-songwriter Matt White, and Southampton town supervisor Jay Schneiderman, the Safe and Sound charity show was advertised as a socially distanced drive-in concert. Guests were meant to stay in designated areas 6 feet apart from one another, but video footage from the event shows otherwise.
Temperatures were taken upon entry, and according to the New York Times, show organizers, In the Know Experiences and Invisible Noise, claimed they’d “followed all proper and current protocols,” directing guests to remain in their designated areas.
Buzzfeed News spoke to 2,000 show goers, all claiming they felt safe during their time at the event. A rep from the venue said, “There were steel barricades and dividers separating each section in the front viewing area with groups of ten guests, with marked spots to stay within and security guards positioned in front to enforce that masks were being worn.”
All well and good, but the viral videos taken at the event clearly show crowds of fans gathered in the pit area, few of them wearing masks.
The Chainsmokers had a “Drive-in” concert in the Hamptons last night…looks like social distancing was strongly enforced ??♂️….when NY gets the inevitable spike just blame these rich selfish white people
Via IG:adamalpert pic.twitter.com/yLe1XaE0hS
— Icculus The Brave (@FirenzeMike) July 26, 2020
New York Govenor Andrew Cuomo tweeted, “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
According to Rolling Stone, New York State Department of Health Commissioner, Howard A. Zucker, sent a letter on Monday to Jay Schneiderman — the same town supervisor who’d appeared at the concert — that stated: “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.”
The Commissioner’s letter raised questions and demanded answers. “What town officials were at the concert and why was it allowed to continue when it became clear violations were rampant?”
These drive-in shows sound great in theory, but it’s questionable whether they can be executed safely. If guests don’t want to follow the rules and security doesn’t enforce them, these events become irresponsible and put everyone at higher risk.
Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told Buzzfeed News, “Anytime you have a mass gathering, you have to worry about the virus spreading. I do think a drive-through will decrease the risk … but there will never be a zero risk. At a concert, people are going to scream and chant and create mass droplets, so that’s going to be a challenge.”