Albany County advises attendees of unpermitted dance competition to get tested


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A dance competition took place at the Arbor Hill Sports Complex on Saturday. The Albany County Health Department and Albany Police said they were under the impression the event was canceled.

Reports on Sunday claimed that anywhere from 400 to 1,500 people attended a talent show dance competition at the Arbor Hill Sports Complex. The 2HOT4U dance group posted flyers on their Facebook page promoting the event. They were looking for performers and donations for the show.

It was one of those flyers that prompted the City to look into it.

“We learned about it on Thursday,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said. “Somebody brought it to my attention — a flyer advertising a talent show — and so as we looked into it, we realized this is something that’s expressly prohibited. Dance groups can practice socially distant and in small enough guidelines where they don’t exceed the numbers.”

Mayor Sheehan said 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.

Sheehan said the event was held without a permit and that the Mayor’s Office reached out to the County Department Health, who has been in contact with the organizers.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy released a statement on Monday:

“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. Guidelines advise against mass gatherings because they pose a significant risk of transmission of COVID-19. 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.”

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy

Mayor Sheehan told NEWS10 ABC over the weekend she was not aware if any of the attendees followed any social distancing guidelines.

“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,” she said.

She asks everyone who attended to monitor their symptoms and get tested if need be.

“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.”

NEWS10 reached out to organizers from the 2Hot4U dance group and have not heard back.

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