Chainsmokers Concert Criticized Over Lack of Social Distancing

By: Leyuan Zhou

Last Saturday, a charity concert in the Hamptons that featured the chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs and a popular D.J. duo, the Chainsmokers, drew ubiquitous outrage and a state investigation after video footage obtained from the event showed attendees flouting public health precautions.

The concert, named Safe & Sound, initially allowed guests to sit near their parked vehicles in socially-distanced areas to view the performers. Performers included the chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, David M. Solomon (also known as D.J. D-Sol), and Jay Schneiferman, the supervisor of the Town of Southampton. Tickets to the performance cost up to $25,000.

Organizers advertised the concert as a “drive-in music experience in the famous summer hot spot, the Hamptons.” The Hamptons area, located 100 miles east of Manhattan on Long Island, is a popular summer destination for affluent residents of New York City.

The concert organizers claimed that guests’ temperatures were checked; security personnel also regularly patrolled the venue to promote mask-wearing and maintain social-distancing. However, a video of the concert that was later posted to Twitter showed a cluster of concert attendees partying at the front stage, most of whom were maskless and seemingly unaware of the social-distancing protocols being imposed.

The event has generated numerous angry social media posts and has since attracted the attention of state officials.

“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,” wrote Dr. Howard A. Zucker, New York’s health commissioner.

The organizations that hosted the event, In The Know Experiences and Invisible Noise, said in a statement on Monday that they had followed “all proper and current protocols.” According to them, guests were repeatedly told that they were prohibited from leaving their designated areas, which were spaced at least six feet apart, unless they needed to use the restroom.

The number of parties and public gatherings that are recently happening in the New York City area as virus restrictions are eased is rising. The criticism of the concert further highlights the purposeful disregard of adhering to social-distancing rules among citizens, especially among young adults, that came as New York remained in the process of suppressing the coronavirus.

The coronavirus has disproportionately harmed low-income populations; this social disparity could be further exacerbated by much of the city’s wealthy population seeking shelter in remote vacation homes in locations such as the Hamptons.

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