LA County says maskless Emmys ceremony was NOT in violation of Covid-19 rules, exemption made for ‘performers’

Los Angeles health officials sprang to the Emmys’ defense, hailing safety protocols at the show and noting that it’s exempt from the mask mandate as a television production after the sight of maskless celebrities stoked outrage.

The 73rd annual Emmy Awards that took place at the Event Deck at LA Live, which is considered to be an indoor-outdoor venue, has courted massive controversy due to the guests sporting no masks despite it being tightly packed.

The organizers were accused of hypocrisy and elitism at a time when children have to mask up at school – a highly politicized issue, which has been fueling legal battles between Republican governors and proponents of school-mask mandates.

Responding to the backlash sparked by the ceremony, LA County’s health officer on Monday defended the gathering, insisting that neither the assorted celebrities nor the organizers had done anything wrong. The official invoked exemptions in place for film, television and music production, arguing that since the Emmys were televised, they fall under this category.

The Emmy Award Show is a television production and persons appearing on the show are considered performers

The statement went on to note that all of those in the audience were fully vaccinated, and provided proof of a negative PCR test taken within the past 48 hours. Members of the production team were subject to less strenuous requirements, but were still compelled to be either fully vaccinated or report Covid-19 testing results twice per week.

Heaping further praise on the organizers, the official said that they “exceeded the baseline requirements for television and film productions,” calling the full vaccination of all those present “one of the most powerful ways to achieve a safe environment.”

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The Television Academy's 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the L.A. LIVE. ©Jordan Strauss / Invision for the Television Academy via AP
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Under Los Angeles County’s Department of Health guidelines, everyone aged two years and older must mask up in “all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and public and private businesses.”

LA officials’ defense of the event still riled up outraged commentators, who blasted the exemption granted to the rich and powerful. Some pointed out that workers at the ceremony had to wear masks, taking the observation as further proof of Hollywood’s skewed moral compass. 

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