How the AMAs and Other Award Shows Keep Running While Thousands of Americans Die Daily From COVID-19

Yesterday, families around the country continued to try to figure out a way to safely have their Thanksgiving dinners without turning their homes into hotspots for coronavirus (COVID-19). Yesterday was also the American Music Awards and while many Americans are still afraid to leave their homes, musicians danced on stages and walked the red carpet almost as if nothing was going on.

Maluma and Jennifer Lopez
Maluma and Jennifer Lopez | Kevin Mazur/AMA2020/Getty Images for dcp

Coronavirus in the U.S.

America has failed to contain the virus since the pandemic began in March. Over the past few months, the number of cases and deaths have been rising at an alarming rate while many states refuse to impose the sort of shutdowns that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts have deemed necessary to get the virus under control. But yet, sports are still being played and award shows are still being held. For some, the contrast between what the CDC is recommending normal people do and what celebrities and athletes are allowed to do feels too stark, while others view the award shows as a welcome break from the doom and gloom of the news or the reality of what is going on in America.

What did the AMAs do to curb the spread of COVID-19?

The AMAs were under great scrutiny as the show occurred just three days after L.A.County reported it’s highest 24-hour count of COVID-19 cases at 5,000 in a single day. But before the event was approved, the organizers had to put several safety precautions in place.

“We have rigorous Covid-19 safety guidelines and protocols in place — approved by the unions and with guidance from L.A. County Department of Public Health — that are beyond what is required,” a spokesperson for Dick Clark Productions told Rolling Stone.

These precautions included lots of testing.

“Anyone entering the AMAs footprint is tested in advance, and testing continues with frequency throughout the wrap of production,” the spokesperson said. “Everyone inside our footprint, with the exception of artists on stage who are singing or speaking, will be wearing facial coverings and maintain social distancing at all times. When artists are not on stage singing, presenting, or accepting an award, they will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Additionally, we disinfect our set every evening and in between performances during pre-production, rehearsals and in the live show.”

Even though it may have seemed like the stages were crowded during certain performances, there were still protocols in place for how many people were allowed to be on stage and unlike some other award shows, all of the dancers had to be masked.

In order to further minimize the risk of COVID spread, different crews put together each stage and were required to socially distance and wear masks the entire time they were in the venue, according to the outlet.

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Other award shows

Several award shows have happened during the pandemic and the number of precautions taken by each show has varied. For example, The Latin Grammys in Miami did not require all dancers to wear masks. But perhaps the biggest award blunder during the pandemic was the Country Music Awards. Before the show, the organizers said precautions would be taken, however, during the show fans noticed that the tables seemed to be closer than promised and multiple artists were seated at the same tables.

While CMA released a statement saying that they were following all the guidelines necessary, pictures from the event showed some of the attendees talking to one another without masks and visiting other attendees at their tables.