Los Angeles County stepped in Tuesday to defend the largely maskless Emmy Awards from complaints that it appeared the star-studded event did not follow proper COVID-19 precautions and, specifically, did not abide by the Los Angeles mask mandate.
L.A. County claimed, in a statement to media addressing the criticism, that because the Emmys are technically a “television production,” they are exempted from the heavy-handed mask mandate, even though the event is 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,” LA 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 noted.
The group then claimed that a fully vaccinated crowd was “one of the most powerful ways” to achieve COVID-19 safety, regardless of masks, contravening its own recommendations.
“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 L.A. County website does not make a specific mention of an exception for film and television productions.
The Emmy Awards, held Sunday in a “tent,” had an entirely vaccinated attendee list, according to organizers, but few, if any celebrities appeared in masks. As The Daily Wire reported on Monday, photographs of the event show only staff, assistants, and media wearing masks on the red carpet. Inside the tent, only some members of the production team appeared masked.
Even actor Seth Rogan made note of the decision to proceed with the maskless event.
“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,” Rogan 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.