- A DC-based media executive attended two secret dinner parties where fellow guests included politicians and the food was prepped by a personal chef, reported CNN’s Vicky Ward.
- Ward wrote that she’s heard of many people attending illicit gatherings during the pandemic, but that the wealthy “are more able and willing” to do so.
- The rich are also fleeing to vacation homes, paying extra for quarantine perks, and receiving easier access to testing.
- Money is buying them a more comfortable pandemic experience.
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Some people will do anything to cure their cabin fever – even if that means attending illicit gatherings.
Consider the Washington DC-based media executive who told CNN’s Vicky Ward that he recently attended two separate secret dinner parties with two different hosts in the affluent neighbourhood of Georgetown.
He was part of a group of four at one party hosted by a movie producer, where they listened to music six feet away from each other in a garden while eating dinner prepared by the live-in chef, Ward wrote. And at a separate party hosted by a “Democrat political operative,” he joined an ambassador and city councilman (among others) to dine on the lamb that a guest had brought. He said for both parties, he snuck in through the back gate and wasn’t allowed to take photos or later discuss the events.
“I just had to get out of the house,” the unnamed exec, who says he typically attends 200 cocktail parties annually, told Ward. “I feel like a camel in the desert in search of water. Washington is a cocktail town and social interaction is our oxygen.”
He’s one of many people breaking shelter-in-place rules that Ward has heard about, from Palm Beach, Florida, to the UK. Ward wrote that most of the people she spoke with are middle class or affluent, but that it seems the latter are “more able and willing” to partake in this surreptitious behaviour.
The wealthy are experiencing a more comfortable quarantine
Underground dinner parties are just one of the ways the wealthy have been trying to make their lives easier during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many have left their urban dwellings behind, escaping to smaller communities that offer them the luxury of more space and access to nature.
New York City residents have headed upstate to the mountains and out to the Hamptons. They, along with other east coast city dwellers, have also infiltrated coastal New England, flocking to some of Massachusetts’ most elite enclaves and Maine’s islands. Out west, the wealthy are sheltering at ski resorts, from Idaho to Wyoming. And some Silicon Valley residents have reportedly flown to New Zealand, while the UK’s wealthy urbanites have snuck to the countryside in the middle of the night.
For more comfortable quarantines, the wealthy are also helicoptering in quarantine supplies, paying limo drivers hundreds to shuttle their mail from Manhattan to the Hamptons, and buying out entire hotels to self-isolate in. Some are also paying their household staff a premium to quarantine with them.
Household staff is helping them procure food, Business Insider’s Katie Warren reported. But others are picking up free organic produce from private farms in members-only communities, or getting caviar and Wagyu beef delivered to their homes from high-end restaurant vendors. And those who have fled to ritzy vacation towns are reportedly buying extra freezers to store all of the food they have been stocking up on.
The wealthy have easier access to testing
The wealthy also have an advantage when it comes to testing for active coronavirus infections and past coronavirus infections.
While the US is facing a coronavirus testing shortage, some of the wealthy are hiring concierge doctors to test them in their homes to bypass the CDC’s strict testing criteria and long wait times for results, Los Angeles-based concierge doctors told Business Insider’s Taylor Nicole Rogers. They’re often able to get the doctor in to their home – and the results back – in the same day.
And as healthcare companies currently race to roll out antibody tests, which can determine if one has been previously exposed to the coronavirus, some of America’s richest also already have access to them. A Colorado ski resort, private island in Miami, and reclusive community outside of San Francisco have all obtained antibody tests for their residents.
Easier access to testing, a more luxurious quarantine, and secret dinner parties to attend are all part of the loopholes the wealthy are creating for a more enhanced pandemic experience than the rest of the world.