Fire Island COVID Destroyers to the rescue!
After large crowds of Fire Island revelers were spotted in close proximity without face coverings during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, a group of good Samaritans flocked to the queer beach destination to make sure it wouldn’t happen again.
Drag queens, go-go dancers — masks and sanitizer in hand — remind beachgoers to stay safe during coronavirus crisis
Actor, director, and choreographer Taylor Shubert, a team from GMHC, and nightlife promoter Daniel Nardicio’s Dworld crew joined forces to lead the COVID Destroyers — named after the British-based Cock Destroyers, pornstars Sophie Anderson and Rebecca More — to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Fire Island.
The crew is raising money to pay out-of-work drag queens and go-go dancers to greet folks at the Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove Harbor and distribute hand sanitizer and masks, while also offering simple reminders to practice social distancing.
Ellia Garlands, Davida Jones, Victoria Falls, Willie Dee, Ebonee Excell, Ikea, Kareem McJagger, and Ethan Bain joined in on the effort, as did Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City president Brian Romero, who works for GMHC.
The group has raked in roughly half of their $10,000 GoFundMe fundraising goal while also attracting donations from a range of other sources. According to Shubert, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office provided hand sanitizer and 2,000 masks for distribution throughout Cherry Grove and the Pines, Justfor.Fans distributed 500 masks, Artisan Creative gave out 400 handmade masks, and the Long Island-based law firm Gulotta & Gulotta mailed hundreds of hand sanitizer bottles, sunglasses, and masks.
“That’s the very definition of community,” Shubert said in a written statement.
The effort followed a wave of social media posts in the aftermath of the July 4 holiday when individuals outraged by the lack of social distancing and masks on Fire Island opted to post photos and even tag police departments. Others resisted that approach, arguing that shaming is not the answer — and that folks should avoid drawing the attention of law enforcement.
“Fire Island was an epicenter of the HIV/ AIDS crisis, and we learned then that we must take care of our own,” Nardicio said, according to the GoFundMe page. “[The Covid Destroyers] decided a positive, helpful approach will do much more than a ‘tag ‘em and drag ‘em approach’ and we can hire out of work nightlife performers while doing it.”
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