Millions of New Yorkers continue to live and operate under strict coronavirus-related restrictions enacted by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
But apparently famous musicians don't have to follow the same rules.
What is the background?
On Friday, for example, de Blasio said there is "no plan" as to when he will allow residents in the Big Apple to enjoy indoor restaurant dining.
"There's not a context for indoor dining. We're never saying it's impossible. But we do not, based on what we're seeing around the world, we do not have a plan for reopening indoor dining in the near term," he said, the New York Post reported.
Meanwhile, Cuomo has imposed a strict 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors traveling from 31 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Those who violate the quarantine are subject to a $10,000 fine and 15 days in jail, according to the Post.
That requirement, however, will not apply to celebrities traveling to New York City for the Video Music Awards later this week.
Why are celebrities exempt?
According to the Post, the VMAs received an exception from the state Department of Health:
They can "participate in the production of the show," a spokeswoman for Cuomo said, "but they will only interact with other members of the cast and crew and will quarantine when not working." To receive the exemption, the VMAs agreed to police itself with "rigorous safety protocols including testing and screening and compliance checks by a special compliance officer."
"The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and Citywide Events is working in close coordination with the production to ensure guidelines are being followed," a spokesperson for de Blasio said.
The NYPD will reportedly conduct "compliance checks."
This year's VMAs will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and will take place with limited to no audience. It is one of the first major events to take place in New York City since the city largely shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Ariana Grande are scheduled to perform.