Anger Mounts After Crowded Private Party At Coney Island
"This is so frustrating and irresponsible. "
That's just one of many social media comments people made after more than 1,200 people packed a private party at Coney Island Saturday night with few masks in sight.
Just last week, Hamilton County's commission president and health commissioner urged people to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and "double down" on safety precautions, as the county continues to hover on the cusp of turning from red to purple on Ohio's public health advisory scale.
The weekend pool party featured rapper Boosie and was hyped through 160 Promotions, who did not respond to WVXU's requests for comment.
In an email, Coney Island told WVXU, "Saturday night's event was a private event executed by a third party. Prior to Coney Island agreeing to the space rental, the event organizers were informed that their event would be limited to a capacity less than half of Coney Island's current operating capacity (1,200) and that the event attendees must follow the same social distancing rules and policies that Coney Island guests must adhere to during normal operating hours."
The email continued, "Despite repeated requests by Coney Island personnel and on-site Hamilton County Sheriff Department Officials for the event organizers to address these issues, they did not. Accordingly, Coney Island shut down the event approximately 90 minutes in and all event attendees were escorted out of the park."
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office provided off-duty security for the event and says, "The private gathering was supposed to be limited to 1,200 people. As the night progressed, the crowd increased and the event became unmanageable. At approximately 10:45 p.m., Coney Island security and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office ended the party due to safety concerns and the large crowd dispersed without incident."
Sheriff's Spokesperson Dave Daugherty says, "Traffic started to be a problem on Kellogg Avenue. Several people who did not have tickets were climbing the fence."
Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says Coney Island did all the right things, lowering the number of people it was allowed to have by a couple hundred, and running its plan by the health department. He says ultimately it's the consumer who has to decide whether to take the risk.
"So, if you showed up at this swimming pool planning to swim and listen to DJ music, which is an allowable activity, and it was unsafe, then I think we need to make the decision to take ourselves out of that situation," he says.