Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the Department of Health has charged “In the Know Experiences,” the concert promoter involved in the July concert in Southampton, featuring the band the Chainsmokers with violating the Public Health Law and is seeking $20,000 in fines for holding a non-essential gathering and failure to enforce mask wearing.
“The Chainsmokers concert promoter is charged today with violating an Executive Order and Section 16 of the Public Health Law. As I said immediately following reports of this event, it was an egregious violation of the critical public health measures we have had in place since the beginning of this pandemic to protect New Yorkers from COVID-19,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will continue to hold people and businesses accountable for their actions and the local governments must enforce the rules or else we will hold them accountable as well.”
On July 25, 2020, “In the Know Experiences” held the “Safe and Sound Concert Series” featuring the Chainsmokers at Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill. The Town of Southampton issued the promoter a special event permit for the concert after its review of the promoter’s Special Events Application, which stated numerous measures that ostensibly would be taken to protect against COVID-19. Critically, the promoter’s Special Events Application omitted reference to a designated “friends and family” section where concertgoers could freely congregate and where mask-wearing was not enforced.
Based on a thorough DOH investigation, more than 2,150 concertgoers attended the event, exceeding the maximum number allowable per the permit. In addition, the event was not held in accordance with other safety measures outlined in the permit application and promotional materials, and created conditions that increased the risk of spreading COVID-19 in New York.
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “We have worked too hard throughout this pandemic to keep infection rates low utilizing proven public health measures, and we must ensure that they stay in place. If they do not, enforcement is always an option. We will take whatever measures we can to protect the public health of all New Yorkers.”
This aggressive action against “In the Know Experiences” mirrors other State actions, including the State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visits to establishments to assess and enforce compliance, as well as the Cluster Action Initiative, which divides clusters and the areas around them into Red, Orange and Yellow Zones, providing successively higher restrictions within each one in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19.