ALBANY, NY (AP) — New York’s governor said he is “appalled” by videos showing crowds standing close together at a Hamptons concert featuring electronic music duo The Chainsmokers over the weekend.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state Department of Health will conduct an investigation into “egregious social distancing violations”. Cuomo warned in a Tuesday call with reporters that violations of public health law can result in civil fines and a potential for criminal liability.
“We have no tolerance for the illegal reckless endangerment of public health,” reads the governor’s tweet.
The Saturday night concert — called ‘Safe & Sound’ — was billed as a charity drive-in show in Southampton where Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s band also performed.
Cuomo shared a social media video, which has over six million views, that showed crowds of people standing and swaying near the stage. The video shows attendees who appeared to be wearing masks, but many individuals were standing closer than two metres.
Cuomo questioned why local law enforcement didn’t break up that was “out of control and all the rules were being violated”. He said the state’s investigation will look at the role of local leaders and reports of “ongoing” violations in the village of Southampton.
The governor’s criticism comes as he argues local governments largely in downstate New York have failed to enforce social distancing and mask rules. State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker chided Schneiderman in a Monday letter and questioned how Southampton could have issued a permit for an event that posed a public health threat.
In response, Schneiderman said the town is also investigating the concert, vowed to hold organisers accountable and defended the town’s decision to permit the concert.