Why The CMA Awards Are Causing Serious Concern

As the number of coronavirus cases skyrockets in the United States, the execution of the 2020 CMA Awards on Nov. 11, 2020 has raised serious concerns. Just two days before the show, CNN reported that the United States had reached 10 million known coronavirus cases, so given that sobering statistic, it was alarming to some that the ceremony opted to forge ahead with an in-person event at Music City Center in Nashville, een after some performers dropped out following positive COVID-19 test results.

One of the most common recommendations to combat COVID-19 is to avoid indoor gatherings of more than ten people. According to The Tennessean, the CMA instituted several changes to its annual awards show to try to keep attendees (artists, their guests, and staff) safe in the midst of the pandemic. The 2020 CMA Awards used banquet-style table seating reportedly spaced 8 feet apart, with only one artist and a guest occupying each table. CMA Awards showrunners set up a one-way walkway system at the Grand Ole Opry House as part of their efforts to maintain social distancing during the event. 

While it is terrific to see precautions being taken, the alarming number of artists who had been set to appear or perform and then dropped out of the show due to COVID-19 is rather shocking.

Big names test positive for COVID-19 before the CMAs

At least five CMA performers and presenters ending up pulling out of the event after reporting positive coronavirus test results. 

According to the Associated Press, singer Lee Bice had to bail on his "I Hope You're Happy Now" duet with Carly Pearce after testing positive, but he was reportedly "in good spirits and not experiencing any symptoms." Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard announced his positive test via an Instagram post. Lady A pulled out of the show due to a family member testing positive for COVID-19. Jenee Fleenor, who was supposed to perform during a tribute to the Charlie Daniels Band, revealed that she was "bummed" to learn that she'd tested positive for the virus as well. Rascal Flatts also dropped out of the show after a member of the band tested positive.

The CMA apparently took the test results in stride, issuing a statement to Rolling Stone that said, in part, that the "protocols are working. Our process enabled us to manage each situation immediately ... Most importantly, it prevented anyone else from being exposed."

Just hours before the start of the ceremony, the Associated Press pulled out of covering the award show after the CMA attempted to restrict the news organization from distributing screenshots from the broadcast that included guests' faces seated in the audience. "The AP covers award shows as news events and we must be able to assure the public that the information they are receiving from us is accurate," said Global Entertainment and Lifestyles Editor Editor Anthony McCartney

Here's hoping the 2020 CMA Awards proved to be a safe event for everyone involved.