Hamptons Leaders Question Cuomo’s Comments on Social Distancing Violations

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A woman carries her surfboard from the beach in the Hamptons.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman pushed back against Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s claims of the Hamptons of being a “problem” area in regards to executing safe reopening protocols from the coronavirus shutdown.

Cuomo recently named the Hamptons and Manhattan as leading areas of reopening related violations out of about 25,000 complaints statewide. Cuomo said that many of these complaints were about unsafe interactions in restaurant and bar settings — and if such non-compliance continued, he said that he would shut down businesses again.

The Hamptons and Manhattan are both currently in phase two of the reopening plan, with Long Island entering phase three on Wednesday.

In a letter sent to Cuomo on June 15, Schneider wrote, “as Supervisor of the largest Town in the Hampton’s region, I am aware of your comments during the June 14tg COVID-19 press conference where you stated that ‘The Hamptons’ region is not enforcing compliance with the re-opening guidance.”

The Hamptons region consists of two towns and eight villages on Long Island’s South Fork; there are seven independent police departments and a similar number of ordinance departments, Schneiderman said.

“Did you mean to imply that every local jurisdiction is ignoring the state rules? At the press conference you said ‘The Hamptons’ were a problem area,” he wrote.

Southampton Town has enforced the accommodations enacted by the state including social distancing requirements, mask wearing regulations, non-essential business restrictions, and limitations on gatherings.

“Our agencies are quick to investigate complaints of non-compliance,” he wrote. “We receive concerns regarding non-compliance from Suffolk 311 as well as through our own departments. We speak regularly on conference calls with your local representatives who have never raised concerns about a pattern of non-compliance in our area or even a single concern about a business ignoring the requirements.”

Schneiderman concluded the letter asking Cuomo to forward any of the 25,000 complaints Cuomo received that pertain to Southampton Town so that local law enforcement could properly investigate them.