Thursday, May 26, 2022

Oscars will require vaccines for guests; not performers, presenters

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The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has devised a complicated COVID-19 policy for guests attending the 94th annual Oscars in Los Angeles on March 27, has confirmed.

The New York Times reported Thursday that a pared-down list of invited guests – including nominees – will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and at least two negative PCR tests to enter. This year 2,500 guests will be invited to watch the show inside the Dolby Theater, which generally holds 3,317.

Meanwhile, show performers and award presenters will be required to undergo testing, but will not be required to show proof of vaccination, the Times reported.

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Face cover requirements will also vary at the awards show depending on the seat location in the theater, according to the Times. High-profile nominees and their guests seated in a spaced-out orchestra section (closer to the stage and in the view of television cameras) will not be required to wear face masks.

Guests in the intermediate level mezzanine may be required to wear masks, with guests sitting side-by-side in the fuller capacity seated area, the Times reported.

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The new policy follows a report earlier this month by The Hollywood Reporter which stated that the academy was planning to scrap a COVID vaccination requirement, with plans to instead require a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test on the day of the 2022 Oscars.

The report prompted an immediate Hollywood backlash with stars like Seth MacFarlane, who hosted the show in 2013, expressing outrage on Twitter.

“Really, Oscars?” MacFarlane tweeted. “This would seem, from the outside looking in, a colossal abdication of responsible management. I cannot fathom what piece of information we might be missing that would justify this.”

A Feb. 10 Variety story stated: “To go out to a movie in Los Angeles, patrons must show proof of COVID vaccination. The same applies for sitting in a restaurant or going to a gym or getting a haircut. … Surely the risk of COVID transmission is higher in a crowd of thousands of people – elbowing for space at the bar, or bunched in line for the Dolby Theater bathrooms “

But COVID protocols have seen shifting sands in California in recent days as cases and hospitalizations have begun to decline. The California Department of Public Health issued new guidance going into effect on Wednesday removing vaccination requirements for large outdoor events, and as of Thursday, vaccinated guests no longer need to mask up indoors across most of Disneyland (and at Orlando’s Disney World).

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On Tuesday, it was announced there will be no vaccination, testing or masking requirements at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival or Stagecoach Country Music Festival when they return to Indio, Cailfornia, in April.

Last year’s drastically pared-down Oscars, held inside Los Angeles’ Union Station amid the pandemic, had strict COVID testing requirements. The event took place before COVID vaccines were widely available.

The academy announced this week that Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall will host the upcoming Oscars.



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