New York state authorities are opening an investigation into a drive-in concert by the musical group the Chainsmokers on Long Island this weekend that did not appear to be adhering to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
The Saturday concert, which might have had an audience of thousands of people, was intended as a benefit, with proceeds going to charity and took place in the town of Southampton.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted Monday that videos of the concert “show egregious social distancing violations. I am appalled.” He added that, “The Department of Health will conduct an investigation” and “we have no tolerance for the illegal and reckless endangerment of public health.”
The concert, according to its event page, was intended to be a socially-distanced drive-in event with a maximum of 600 vehicles. Attendees were supposed to stay within a certain distance of their car and leave only to use the restroom, in which case they were required to wear a mask.
But various clips from the concert show large groups of people standing shoulder to shoulder, many without masks.
All non-essential gatherings of over 50 people are banned in New York, with a fine of up to $1,000.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker sent a letter on Monday about the concert to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. In his letter, Zucker said he was “greatly disturbed” by reports of “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.”
He added that he did not know why the concert was “allowed to continue when it became clear violations were rampant.”
The U.S. has had over 140,000 COVID-19 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends social distancing and wearing a mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus.