Organizers of a Hamptons drive-in concert headlined by EDM group The Chainsmokers were fined $20,000 for allegedly violating New York State social distancing orders over the summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
In addition, the governor said that the Town of Southampton, which authorized the concert, is going to require state approval before allowing any other group gathering permits in the future.
“I spent time speaking to the people in Southampton,” Cuomo told reporters during a news conference call. “Frankly, I don’t know what they were thinking.”
Social media videos from the July event in Water Mill show a not-so-distanced crowd dancing and singing in close proximity. The state immediately launched a probe into allegations that the concert broke the governor’s social-distancing orders meant to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The benefit concert, dubbed Safe and Sound, was hosted by promoter In the Know Experiences. Representatives for the group did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The organizers previously said in a statement that they collaborated with all state and local health officials and the concert followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines.
The drive-in event had space for about 600 cars on a 100-acre field. Southampton officials have said that expectations were for 2,000 attendees, but an estimated 3,000 showed up. Town officials have blamed the organizers for not enforcing social distancing rules when a dance pit broke out in front of the stage.
“We had police there, but had we known the organizer wasn’t going to aggressively enforce mask-wearing and social distancing, we would likely have had four times the number of law enforcement that was actually present,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman previously told the Press.
Asked about the latest from the governor, Schneiderman said the town also summonsed the concert’s organizer for violations and Southampton officials have already been checking with the state before approving permits for large gatherings, which are few and far between now that summer is over.
“Thank god no one contracted COVID from the concert,” he added.
-With Dana Chiueh
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