Chainsmokers concert faces criticism after footage of unsafe social distancing emerges

The New York Department of Health has launched an open investigation

Attendees of The Chainsmokers’ recent charity drive-in concert are facing criticism after footage of unsafe social distancing practices surfaced on social media.

The concert, dubbed the Safe and Sound drive-in concert, was designed for attendees to safely view the night’s performances from either inside their vehicles or within the confines of their designated 20-by-20-foot or 20-by-15-foot parking spot. Attendees were not permitted to leave their space except for bathroom access and were given free face masks upon arrival.

However, recent footage circulating on social media has shown a crowd of concertgoers standing in close proximity with one another, many of whom did not appear to be wearing masks or face coverings.

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The footage drew the attention of New York’s Department of Health. An open investigation was launched by commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, who penned a letter to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman.

According to The Washington Post, the letter requested Schneiderman to provide additional details about whether the acquired event permits were consistent with present COVID-19 safety regulations.

“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,” Zucker wrote.

“What town officials were at the concert and why was it allowed to continue when it became clear violations were rampant?”

As reported by Billboard, representatives of event producers In The Know Experiences and Invisible responded in a statement, explaining the video was “taken from an angle that doesn’t properly convey how careful we were to follow the guidelines created by the CDC”.

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“We did everything in our power to enforce New York’s social distancing guidelines and collaborated with all state and local health officials to keep everyone safe,” the producers wrote.

“Announcements and reminders were made every 30 minutes from the main stage, and security guards regularly patrolled the area to encourage mask wearing and promote social distancing guidelines.

“We followed all proper and current protocol, including spacing each spot more than six feet apart, positioning sanitizing stations throughout the open grounds, temperature checks for all attendees, sanitization of restrooms every 10 minutes, local security enforcing guests to wear their masks both in and out of their designated areas, contact tracing, clearly marked parking zones, as well as providing complimentary face masks upon arrival.”

The event took place at a 100-acre outdoor sculpture park in the Hamptons, Long Island on Saturday July 25. Tickets for the event ran between $1,250 to $25,000, with all profits going to local charities including Children’s Medical Fund of New York, No Kid Hungry and Southampton Fresh Air Home.

This isn’t the first time a concert has been criticised for its lack of safety concerns since the onset of the pandemic. In late June, country singer Chase Rice played a show for thousands of fans at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. Despite mandatory social distancing guidelines, concertgoers appeared to ignore these rules in videos uploaded to Rice’s Instagram stories.

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