Shocker: VMA stars coming to NYC will be exempt from pandemic rules

Shocker: VMA stars coming to NYC will be exempt from pandemic rules

New York City’s government has come under considerable criticism for enforcing bans on large gatherings of people during the pandemic unless those large gatherings are comprised of Black Lives Matter protesters and/or rioters and looters. Everyone else is supposed to keep to themselves, wear masks and avoid crowded settings. But now City Hall might have found a way to show that they’re not willfully discriminating against everyone but a single group. A new crowd is coming to town and they will also be exempt from the normal COVID-19 rules. It’s the musical stars arriving for the annual VMA awards. The glitterati will not be required to quarantine for two weeks prior to heading out to the big party, even if they are traveling to Gotham from states on the “do not travel” list, including California. (NY Post)

When music’s biggest stars descend on New York for the Video Music Awards this week, NYPD cops will show up to check out the shows.

But they won’t be judging the talent. Officers in the NYPD’s TV/Movie unit will see if the performers and their entourages are wearing masks and staying socially distant, city officials told The Post.

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande Taylor Swift and many others are set to perform at various outdoor locations “with limited or no audience” on Sunday. The show’s original location at Barclays Arena was dropped due to COVID-19 concerns.

When this bit of hypocrisy was pointed out, a spokesperson for City Hall was quick to say that the city’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Citywide Events will be operating in close coordination with the VMA producers to “ensure guidelines are being followed.” That might be true in the case of rules about how close together the performers are standing and who is or isn’t wearing masks. But there’s still a standing order saying that people arriving from states with infection rates exceeding 10 percent must quarantine for two weeks before going out and about. Both California and Florida are on that list, along with 34 other states. Almost everyone coming in from out-of-state for the VMAs will be arriving from one of those states.

So the guidelines really aren’t being followed, are they? After all, each and every one of these fabulous celebrities should have been arriving two weeks in advance and staying in lockdown to ensure they don’t start showing symptoms, right? But the aren’t.

We’re not just talking about New York City rules here either. At the state level, Governor Cuomo’s executive order states that anyone violating the quarantine order will be subject to a fine up to $10,000 or up to 15 days in jail. Do any of you expect to see Lady Gaga or Arianna Grande behind bars?

To get around this, the New York State Department of Health granted the VMAs a “semi-exemption.” What the heck is a “semi-exemption?” Well, they’re being made to promise that the attendees will only mingle with the members of their own production team and will remain in self-imposed quarantine when not participating in activities related to the production. So I’m sure they’ll all abide by those rules, right?

Not if Kanye West is any example to go by. He flew in on Thursday and got around the rules by using an airport in New Jersey. He later switched vehicles to a car with New York plates and headed into the city where he toured an art gallery in Chelsea. While this was widely reported, I still don’t see Kanye cooling his heels behind bars. But I’m sure he’s the outlier, right? None of the other stars would stoop to that level and sneak out to attend VMA after-parties while they’re in the Big Apple, I’m sure. But we’ll keep an eye on the situation just in case.

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David Strom 6:41 PM on January 26, 2023