Performers at this year’s MTV VMAs have been granted a quarantine exemption by New York’s Department of Health, allowing them to bypass the state’s normal COVID-19 protocol of staying inside for two weeks upon arrival.
Under the normal rule, performers from travel advisory states like California would have had to arrive in New York by at least Aug. 16 in order to quarantine for two weeks and make the Aug. 30 show. Now, performers for Sunday’s show are allowed to travel to New York and not quarantine, but they are still being asked to stay inside when not working.
The NY DOH did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment, but the department said in a statement to Vulture:
“The VMAs applied through DOH to allow individuals coming from travel advisory states to participate in the production of the show, in line with the methodology granted for professional sports,” a rep for the DOH said. “Similar to professional athletes, the VMA cast and crew are required to adhere to strict procedures which include quarantining when not working, wearing masks and appropriate social distancing, and rigorous testing during their stay. Exemptions to the travel advisory, which The Department has granted on a case by case basis, include individuals who have traveled to New York for medical procedures or funerals, as examples.”
In a statement to TheWrap, an MTV spokesperson added that safety is still the first priority.
“The health and safety of everyone involved is of the utmost importance. We’ve put rigorous protocols in place including testing and screening, and we’re working in close coordination with state and local officials to ensure all guidelines are being followed,” the spokesperson said. “All performers and crew are subject to quarantine and testing protocols and remain quarantined when not rehearsing/performing/working.”
The list of VMA performers currently includes Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, the Black Eyed Peas, BTS, Chloe X Halle, CNCO, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Maluma, Miley Cyrus, and The Weeknd, with pre-show performers including Lewis Capaldi, Tate McRae, Machine Gun Kelly, and Jack Harlow.
J Balvin and Roddy Ricch were originally set to perform but are no longer listed on the MTV VMAs website.
Earlier this month, the VMAs walked back on their original plan to hold the ceremony live and in-person with a limited audience at New York’s Barclay’s Center. Though they initially had Governor Cuomo’s blessing, they later decided that outdoor performances and a virtual audience would be the safer option.
“The VMAs will highlight the boroughs in an exciting show and return to Barclays Center in 2021,” reps for MTV told TheWrap. “MTV will continue to work closely with the Department of Health, state and local officials, the medical community, and key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all involved.”