UPDATE: Cuomo Says Criminal Charges Could Come From NY 'Drive-in' Concert, Warns, 'Southampton Is Going to Have a Problem'
A weekend drive-in charity concert in the Hamptons and headlined by The Chainsmokers drew a sold-out crowd as well as harsh online criticism over an apparent lack of social distancing.
Images of large crowds attending Saturday night's concert trickled onto social media the day after, quickly catching criticism over the effectiveness of social distancing enforcement. The event was designed so that concertgoers could enjoy the performances from inside their vehicles or outside but within the lines of their parking spot.
Face masks and hand sanitizing stations were also deployed around the venue for those in attendance.
But several of the images, including one video that gained millions of views by Monday, seemed to show a blending of groups, some without masks or face coverings.
The event had all the promise of a safe and run experience, at least as detailed by the event webpage. Ticket holders were given 20-by-20 foot or 20-by-15 foot parking space that were not to be left except for restroom access. The size of the space depended on the price of the ticket, some reportedly went as high as $25,000. Face coverings were required for event staff and concert goers who left their "assigned tailgate area" to use the restroom.
The concert caught the attention of New York's Department of Health. Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker sent a letter to the Southampton Town Supervisor, Jay Schneiderman, to alert him of an open investigation into the event.
"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," Dr. Zucker wrote, in part. He also requested a response Schneiderman within 24 hours.
The benefit concert was said to raise funds for No Kid Hungry, Southampton Fresh Air Home, and the Children's Medical Fund of New York.
A request for comment from the event's organizers was not immediately returned Monday.