New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is allowing rock stars to bypass the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine so that they can perform at the MTV Video Music Awards, one of the music industry’s biggest nights that is set to take place August 30, according to a report from the New York Post.
The Post said that the state’s Department of Health has granted the VMAs a semi-exemption to the quarantine rule. Musicians can “participate in the production of the show,” a spokeswoman for Cuomo told the newspaper, “but they will only interact with other members of the cast and crew and will quarantine when not working.”
She said the VMAs agreed to police itself with “rigorous safety protocols including testing and screening and compliance checks by a special compliance officer.”
This year’s VMAs will be New York’s first major awards show since the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus. The ceremony is expected to be audience-less, with artists performing at venues throughout the city. Among the stars expected to attend are Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, the Black Eyed Peas, and presidential candidate Kanye West.
New York has imposed a strict 14-day quarantine to travelers from 34 states, including Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Earlier this week, the governor added Alaska and Delaware to the list. Travelers who violate the quarantine can be fined up to $10,000 or be sentenced to 15 days in jail.
New York has the second highest COVID-19 death rate in the country, just behind New Jersey. Gov. Cuomo is facing fire for his decision early in the pandemic to compel nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients, which is believed to have allowed the virus to spread rapidly among the elderly population.
Despite the state’s death toll, Gov. Cuomo is taking a victory lap. His new book American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, which is set to hit shelves in October, will provide a “remarkable portrait of leadership during crisis and a gritty story of gut-wrenching choices that point the way to a safer future for us all,” according to publisher Crown.