Chase Rice condemned for potentially exposing audience to COVID-19 after hosting packed concert
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the U.S., country singer Chase Rice was condemned for playing a Saturday concert -- the official kickoff of his tour -- where he entertained a packed crowd that largely ignored social distancing guidelines.
Rice performed for an estimated 4,000 people. A video, which he filmed, shows swarm of mostly unmasked concertgoers clustering at the foot of the stage.
The country community has since expressed its collective disbelief and outrage, claiming the 34-year-old jeopardized thousands of people for not enforcing social distancing guidelines.
Kelsea Ballerini put the "Eyes on You" singer on blast Sunday, tweeting, "Imagine being selfish enough to put thousands of people’s health at risk, not to mention the potential ripple effect, and play a NORMAL country concert right now." She added that while artists everywhere are chomping at the bit to get back on tour, the health and safety of their fans always comes first.
Fellow country artist Mickey Guyton expressed fear that the concert will exacerbate COVID-19 cases in the state when retweeting the video on Sunday, "This is happening in Tennessee where cases are spiking y’all. Jesus help us."
The venue, Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, can typically host up to 10,000 people.
While Rice has yet to respond to request for comment, the concert venue told ABC News "All local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken," which included limiting capacity, temperature checks at entry and dispensing free hand sanitizer.
The venue also claimed that "less than 1,000" were in attendance, but admitted they were unable to enforce social distancing because the crowd ignored the requests.
The venue will now to reevaluate its safety measures "from the top to bottom" to further enhance the safety of attendees, performing artists and others.
By Megan Duley
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