Albany leaders on reportedly unsanctioned dance competition

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A dance competition took place at the Arbor Hill Sports Complex on Saturday. According to Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan on Sunday, everyone who was there should get tested for COVID-19.

“Even though it was outdoors, it’s still very, very important that people are aware of the fact coronavirus is still here, it is still with us,” Sheehan said. “The city owns the sports complex that is a city park and they are individuals who have been operating it and apparently hosting events and we believe for money.”

She said that the gathering went against the official state guidance on reopening for sports and recreation events, and that several in attendance had traveled from New York City.

Reports on Sunday claimed that 1,500 people attended a talent show dance competition at the Arbor Hill Sports Complex. Sheehan said the event was held without a permit, and that the Mayor’s Office reached out to the County Department Health, who is now in contact with the organizers.

Albany Department of Health Commissioner Elizabeth Whalen said in a statement: “Guidelines advise against mass gatherings because they pose a significant risk of transmission of COVID-19.  Anyone who attended the event at the Arbor Hill Sports Complex who did not observe social distance guidelines or wear a mask or who has concerns should be tested.”

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reopening guidelines for sports and recreation, dance competitions are considered a higher-risk sporting activity. Any competitive tournaments requiring any type of travel are also prohibited.

“We learned about it on Thursday, somebody brought it to my attention a flyer advertising a talent show and so as we looked into it we realized this is something it’s expressly prohibited. dance groups can practice socially distant and in small enough guidelines where they don’t exceed the numbers,” Sheehan said. “We have no indication as to whether temperatures were taken, names and addresses so that you could do contact tracing—all of the safeguards that are supposed to be in place. We don’t have any way of knowing whether any of those were followed.”

“Albany County did not issue any permit nor give any verbal permission allowing for this past Saturday’s 2Hot4U Talent Show which was held at the Arbor Hill Sports Complex,” according to Albany County Executive Dan P. McCoy. McCoy says the county did not sanction the event in a statement that continues:

“Albany County Department of Health spoke with one of the organizers on Friday and explained to him that the talent show violates current NYSDOH youth sports and recreation guidelines as well as potentially gathering limit guidelines. He confirmed that he would cancel the talent show.”

“Later Friday afternoon, a woman visited the Albany County Department of Health saying she had been told by the Mayor’s office that in order to hold her dance competition, she would need a permit from ACDOH. Our health department does not issue permits for large events. ACDOH offers temporary or mobile food permits. Localities offer special use permits for gatherings like this one.ACDOH does provide guidance on the rules issued by the New York State Health Department. The woman approached our Environmental Department and was told that we only issue permits for food vendors. The event did not involve any food vendors and she was told that since the expected attendance was going to exceed 50 people that alone, would prohibit the event from being held. She left without a permit of any kind.”

Daniel P. McCoy
Albany County Executive

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