National news articles chronicling the recent escape from New York to the Hamptons amid the COVID-19 pandemic have left a wave of emotion in their path. Articles like “Coronavirus Leads To Class Warfare In Hamptons,” “Hamptons Food Stores Ransacked By The Wealthy Amid Coronavirus Pandemic,” and “Wealthy New Yorkers Flee To Hamptons, Hudson Valley To Escape Coronavirus” have been published by the New York Post, Bloomberg, and CNBC.
It’s true the East End has seen an influx of residents, with weekenders setting up shop and summer stayers coming back early. And yes, they are buying large quantities of food and other necessities, leaving many locals angry. But to declare class warfare by pitting the rich against the poor — insinuating that every local is poor and all wealthy are greedy — at a time like this is just not helping the situation.
As a community, we should be sharing and discussing how our local fishermen are feeding the community rather than falling hook, line, and sinker for the clickbait. The public’s health is what’s important right now. Share a link to a local food pantry. Share a resource for a senior citizen.
It’s unrealistic to think that anyone who owns a second home is not going to use it at a time like this. A pandemic could have easily happened in July, and we should be as prepared as possible any time of year. The grocery stores may not have been ready for the inflow of patrons, but none in the country were, and we all can, and will, adapt going forward.
If New York City residents want to use their Hamptons home to quarantine, by all means do so, but please also respect the local community. Stay home. Do not congregate in public spaces and do not hoard groceries and supplies. And this should go without saying, but do not, please, under any circumstance hop on public transportation to the East End or anywhere if you’ve been exposed to, or worse, tested positive for COVID-19.
A specifically cringe-worthy moment happened when we spotted a sponsored Instagram post from Blade helicopter service Sunday evening advertising “WFH = Work From the Hamptons,” offering a two-night stay at a luxury hotel and a round-trip ride from Manhattan. This is unacceptable. It is a time for everyone to stay home, not head out on vacation.