MTV’s Video Music Awards are less than a week away, meaning that under New York’s normal COVID-19 rules, an artist who arrived from a state like California today wouldn’t be able to perform in the ceremony on August 30, since they couldn’t do a full two-week quarantine. Lucky for MTV, the VMAs received an exemption from the state’s COVID-19 quarantine rules. “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,” officials at the New York Department of Health told Vulture. “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.”
MTV has been working with the State of New York since the start of its VMAs planning, when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the ceremony would be held in-person at Barclays Center — an idea the awards later backed out of for obvious pandemic reasons. The awards will now be held live virtually, with performances taking place at venues across New York’s five boroughs. But the VMAs are running into other problems when it comes to those performances. J. Balvin and Roddy Ricch dropped out of their performances as of August 21, a week after Balvin said he was recovering from COVID-19. Hits Daily Double reported that there had been issues with COVID-19 compliance during preparations — which are also taking place in Los Angeles, where performers and their teams are in a bubble at a hotel.
The ceremony has promised it will announce more performers this week, and announced a slate of preshow performers on August 24, including Chloe x Halle, Jack Harlow, Machine Gun Kelly, and Lewis Capaldi. But Hits Daily Double reported on August 24 that performers including Dua Lipa and Harry Styles turned down the ceremony, while a planned live debut for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” didn’t pan out either. Taylor Swift is still on the table, though, after surprise-releasing folklore last month; the New York Post initially reported she was part of a performers bubble in the city, but later removed that information from its story. The VMAs take place August 30, meaning there are still five more days of potential chaos ahead.