Los Angeles County responded to criticism that the Emmy Awards, in which mostly maskless celebrities attended, did not follow proper COVID-19 protocols and didn’t abide by the county’s mask mandate.
The Emmys, it said, are a “television production,” which exempts the event from county rules around masks.
“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.”
County officials said that the organizers of the awards banquet for television had “reached out to Public Health in advance to share their safety protocols, which exceeded the baseline requirements for television and film productions” before adding that “careful planning before large events is essential to assure that all health and safety requirements are adequately addressed.”
Los Angeles County this summer re-imposed its mask mandates and claimed it was to stop the spread of the Delta COVID-19 variant. And earlier this month, the county announced it would implement a vaccine passport mandate on many indoor events.
The Los Angeles County Public Health website (pdf) currently stipulates that “EVERYONE, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask” at “all indoor public settings, venues, gatherings, and public and private businesses in Los Angeles County.” The website makes no mention of film and television productions.
Scenes captured from the Emmys, which was held inside a large tent, showed actors, musicians, athletes, and other celebrities without masks on while Emmy staff members and reporters had to wear them. The incident drew significant criticism on Twitter, with some complaining that celebrities are creating a double standard.
Actor Seth Rogen, a presenter at the show, offered negative feedback. “Let me start by saying there is way too many of us in this little room! What are we doing?” Rogen said. “They said this was outdoors! It’s not! They lied to us.”
Emmys host Cedric the Entertainer later said during the show that attendees had to be vaccinated to attend.
A similar scenario unfolded earlier this month during the Met Gala in New York City, where fashion designers, models, and some elected officials attended without masks while staffers and media members had to have them on.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.