'You can do these types of events,' people just have to comply, Cuomo said

Cuomo Thanks Westhampton Officials for Drive-in Concert




A drive-in concert in Westhampton Beach over the weekend was touted by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who thanked village and county officials during a press briefing on Monday for their due diligence in making sure all coronavirus-related mandates were met.

The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center held a drive-in concert, part of its Beachstock series, on the Great Lawn Saturday night, featuring Square Feeet, who performed Beatles songs.

“It was a matter of concern. We’ve had bad experiences with several towns and villages on Long Island,” the governor said referring to the Chainsmokers drive-in concert fundraiser in Bridgehampton on July 25, in which people congregated in a VIP area in front of the stage.

The governor and the state health commissioner lambasted Southampton Town officials after video from in front of the Chainsmokers concert went viral. Cuomo had called that concert, which was permitted by the town, “a gross violation of not only the public health rules, it was a gross violation of common sense.” He said town police should have stopped the concert immediately when people disobeyed the state executive orders.

“The exact opposite happened” in Westhampton Beach, Cuomo said. “All health ordinances were complied with.”

All vehicles were spaced 10 feet apart and attendees had to remain within the confine of their vehicles, with the exception of going to the restroom. Concert-goers turned their radio to an FM station to hear the music. Tickets started at $150 per car.

Cuomo said it shows “you can do these types of events, but people have to comply. The event is safe and prudent if people comply. The problem becomes when you stage the event and you host the event and people don’t comply and the local authorities aren’t prepared to deal with it. We’ve seen that in Southampton.”

“I want to thank the Village of Westhampton, the trustees, Mayor [Maria] Moore and County Executive Steve Bellone,” he said.

The county sent personnel, at the governor’s request, to help the village police with social distancing enforcement.

The next concert in the Westhampton Performing Arts Center’s series is scheduled for October.

taylor@indyeastend.com