Celebs attending VMAs are semi-excused from New York’s COVID-19 quarantine mandate

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Music artists traveling to New York City to perform at the Video Music Awards this week have been semi-excused from 14-day COVID-19 self-quarantine mandates.

Performers including Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Lady Gaga will do live segments at various outdoor locations “with limited or no audience,” according to Page Six, but they’ll not be subjected to the two-week quarantine.

Originally, the VMAs were scheduled to be held at the Barclays Center, but the venue was canceled over coronavirus concerns.

“The 2020 VMAs will be held on Sunday, Aug. 30 and pay homage to the incredible resiliency of New York with several outdoor performances around [NYC] with limited or no audience, adhering to all state and city guidelines,” MTV and the center announced in a joint statement to the entertainment outlet earlier this month.

“In close consultation with state and local health officials, it became clear at this time that outdoor performances with limited or no audience would be more feasible and safer than an indoor event,” the statement included.

But apparently, the quarantine requirements implemented by state and city leaders have been dropped.

They’ll be permitted to “participate in the production of the show, but they will only interact with other members of the cast and crew and will quarantine when not working,” said a Cuomo spokeswoman.

In order for the stars and their staff to maintain their semi-exempt status, they must adhere to “rigorous safety protocols including testing and screening and compliance checks by a special compliance officer.”

Last month, the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo implemented the two-week self-quarantine rule for persons arriving from 34 states and Puerto Rico where COVID-19 infection rates are 10 percent or above.

“Our job is to make sure we’re doing everything we can to control COVID — which we are doing — [and to] anticipate possible future issues that might come along,” Cuomo told reporters at the time.

“On the situation across the nation, it still is very bad and there are more states that have exceeded our threshold for quarantine. Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Washington D.C. are now added to the list,” he said.

The rules also require people who travel to New York to fill out a questionnaire explaining where they came from and laying out their itinerary.

“If you refuse to fill out the form in the airports, it is illegal for you to leave the airport,” Cuomo told reporters. Violators could be hit with a $2,000 fine.

Earlier this month, NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio implemented a two-week quarantine rule for the city, complete with a $10,000 fine and random checkpoints at various points throughout the city to catch violators.

“The idea is we don’t want to penalize people,” de Blasio said at his daily press briefing Aug. 5. “We want to educate them, we want to make sure they’re following the rules.”

Test and Trace Corps chief Ted Long said that teams would be deployed to Penn Station to ensure that travelers are filling out the questionnaire. He also said personnel would be making phone calls to newly arrived travelers to ensure they were complying with the quarantine.

“If we can’t get through to you on the phone, we’ve now deployed teams to knock on your door and check in on you to make sure you’re safe,” he said.

But none of the rules will apply to VMA performers and their entourages. Rather, NYPD officers with the TV/Movie unit will be on hand to ensure that they are all wearing masks and remaining socially distant.

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Jon Dougherty

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