In spite of its strict policies to halt the import of coronavirus from out of state, New York is giving a handful of celebrities a pass in order to perform at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.
While the average traveler coming from any of the 34 states on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s list of high-risk hotspots would be made to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival in New York, artists including Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus have been given a “semi-exemption” to the policy.
The VMAs, which will air on Sunday night, were originally slated to take place at the Barclays Arena but were moved to a series of outdoor venues, each of which will have limited or no audience in attendance.
According to the New York Post, Gov. Cuomo’s office explained the partial exemption, noting that performers can “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.”
The exemption isn’t exactly a free pass, however, and the VMAs agreed to submit to “rigorous safety protocols including testing and screening and compliance checks by a special compliance officer.”
In order to ensure that the exemption is not being abused, officers from the NYPD’s TV/Movie unit will be tasked with monitoring the performers and their entourages and checking for masks and social distance, New York City officials told The Post.
“The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Citywide Events is working in close coordination with the production to ensure guidelines are being followed,” a City Hall spokesperson said, noting that the NYPD unit will conduct “compliance checks during the production.”
For those of us who are not rich and famous, however, New York’s quarantine rules are far more stringent and involve paperwork, contact tracing, and stiff penalties for failure to comply.
Under one of Gov. Cuomo’s executive orders, anyone who violates the two-week quarantine order is subject to a fine up to $10,000 or up to 15 days in jail.
According to state officials, about 415,000 travelers flying or driving into New York since June 25 after visiting one of the restricted states have “voluntarily” filled out health forms.
The forms, the Post reports, ask for the traveler’s home state, their destination, the names, ages, and genders of each of their children, and contact information such as email address and phone numbers, among other data.
The form also asks if the individual consents to receive daily monitoring messages via text from the New York State Contact Tracing Program, and that if they do not consent, they will “receive a daily phone call instead.”
Refusal to fill out the form may result in a summons and a $2,000 fine.
State officials claim “nearly 100 percent compliance” to date.
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