“Hey Y’all, we wanted to let you guys know that we have received a positive COVID test within the band,” they shared on Twitter. “As much as we were looking forward to performing at the CMA Awards tonight, we will no longer be attending in the interest of everyone’s safety. We miss y’all and stay safe!”
Rascal Flatts is the second group in a matter of hours to announce they would no longer be able to perform at the CMA Awards due to coronavirus. Fiddler Jenee Fleenor contracted the virus, and in Lady A’s case, the band pulled out after a family member tested positive for the virus. Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood have all tested negative, they said on Wednesday.
Kelley actually stepped in for Lee Brice at the awards show, to sing a duet, “I Hope You’re Happy Now”, with Carly Pearce. Brice tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
“Lee is doing good. He doesn’t have any symptoms so that’s great. So he’s doing well and quarantining,” Pearce told ET ahead of the awards ceremony. “I found out [Monday] and it was obviously a disappointment just because we’ve had so much to celebrate with this song. We finally felt like we were going to be able to do it [Wednesday]. But it’s OK because things happen and I’m glad that he’s OK.”
Fans took to social media during Wednesday’s show to comment on the recent COVID cases among country music community — and ask why masks were not being worn during the show.
Reba McEntire, meanwhile, joked about coronavirus as she coughed during the show.
“And now, an award we don’t present every year. It’s one of the highest honors anyone in country music could ever receive. The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award,” she said before coughing. “Excuse me. Not a good time to do that, is it? Sorry.”
The CMA Awards addressed the concern over COVID protocols in a statement to ET.
“We are following all protocols that have been put in place by the CDC as well as the creative unions to ensure we provide the safest environment possible,” the statement read. “Prior to even stepping onto our footprint at MCC, every single person (including artists and their reps) was required to be tested, with many testing repeatedly throughout the week as an extra measure of precaution. Just as with COVID regulations at restaurants, all in attendance are required to wear a mask any time they leave their assigned seat. Staff and crew are also required to wear PPE at all times and, of course, practice social and physical distancing. Tables are spaced eight feet apart with no more than four people seated per table.”
The 54th Annual CMA Awards are airing live on ABC.
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