Los Angeles County has come out in the defense of the maskless Emmy Awards after floods of complaints came in pointing out how the event did not follow proper COVID-19 precautions or abide by the city’s strict mask mandate.
In a statement to the media addressing the criticism, L.A. County stated that because the Emmys are technically a “television production,” they’re exempt from the mask mandates, despite the event being primarily an awards banquet.
“The Emmy Award Show is a television production, and persons appearing on the show are considered performers,” the statement said. “All persons appearing on or in the audience of the Emmy Award Show were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”
“The Emmys reached out to Public Health in advance to share their safety protocols, which exceeded the baseline requirements for television and film productions,” L.A. County noted. “Careful planning before large events is essential to assure that all health and safety requirements are adequately addressed.”
“Additionally, the department was told that all attendees tested negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the event. Similarly, production crews were required to be vaccinated or test negative for the virus twice per week,” Fox News reported.
The group claims the fully vaccinated crowd was “one of the most powerful ways” to achieve COVID-19 safety, despite attendees not wearing masks.
“Full vaccination of all attendees is one of the most powerful ways to achieve a safe environment. Testing of event participants and crew and optimizing ventilation are additional powerful tools,” the Department of Health said. “Public Health will continue to review the protocols of future large television production events and prescribe additional safety modifications to mitigate risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
According to the Los Angeles County Public Health website, “EVERYONE*, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask” in “all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and public and private businesses in Los Angeles County.”
The Emmy Awards, held on Sunday, took place in a “tent,” according to event organizers. Celebrities enjoyed the celebrations maskless, while staff, assistants, and the production team were all masked up.
While presenting, actor Seth Rogen pointed out how the event was not as expected in regards to COVID-19 safety, saying, “Let me start by saying, there’s way too many of us in this little room. What are we doing? They said this was outdoors. It’s not,” Rogen said. “They lied to us. We’re in a hermetically-sealed tent right now. I would not have come to this. Why is there a roof? It’s more important that we have three chandeliers than that we make sure we don’t kill Eugene Levy tonight. That is what has been decided.”
“This is insane. I went from wiping my groceries to Paul Bettany sneezing in my face. So, that’s a big week! If anyone’s gonna sneeze in my face, Paul, I want it to be you,” he added.