Amid a spike of new coronavirus cases across the US, country singer Chase Rice has come under fire for playing a packed concert for thousands of fans in Tennessee on Saturday night (via TMZ).
The event took place at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, a former prison-turned-event center in Petros, Tennessee. The venue’s capacity was limited by 60% so to provide ample space for CDC guidelines regarding social distancing. However, when it came time for the show, audience members converged close to the stage and stood shoulders apart, with not a face mask to be seen.
For his part, Rice seemed unconcerned about the potential health ramifications of playing a concert in the middle of a pandemic. Though scientists have warned that singing together in close quarters is a sure-fire way to spread the coronavirus, Rice repeatedly encouraged his fans to do just that, as he led several sing-alongs.
Additionally, following the concert, Rice posted an Instagram video highlighting the packed crowd, along with the caption, “We back.”
Update: The promoter behind the event told TMZ that “all local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken. We drastically reduced our maximum venue capacity of 10,000 to 4,000 maximum capacity (lower than the state’s advisement of 50%).” The promoter also said only about 1,000 people actually turned out for the concert, and that all attendees “were given temperature checks prior to entering the venue and free hand sanitizer was provided to everyone at entry.” Nonetheless, they were unable to enforce physical distancing during the actual concert, and are now considering alternatives for future shows, including adding stanchion dividers.
Rice has several more concerts scheduled in the coming weeks, including at least two indoor shows in Kentucky and Virginia.
Editor’s Note: Stay safe by picking up one of our custom face masks. A portion of the proceeds will benefit MusiCares’ COVID-19 Artist Relief fund supporting independent musicians.
Chase Rice just played a concert to an enormous crowd of unmasked fans here in Tennessee. For once, I am at a loss for words. pic.twitter.com/wB47u1EaFd
— Lorie Liebig (@lorieliebig) June 28, 2020
— Ricky Valero (@rickyvalero_) June 28, 2020