Face shields and masks. Artists at banquet tables. No fans. The 2020 CMA Awards certainly looked different on TV on Wednesday night (Nov. 11).
Behind-the-scenes photos from the show, however, still show the artists catching up in between performances and awards presentations, hanging out backstage and enjoying the night together. Eric Church and Luke Combs‘ table looked like the place for a good time. Maren Morris and Carly Pearce were aglow when posing offstage with their brand-new trophies. And Reba McEntire strolled around with her new boyfriend, actor Rex Linn:
The 2020 CMA Awards featured nearly two dozen performances, a few of which were pre-taped. Some last-minute changes to the lineup were necessary, after Lee Brice, Florida Georgia Line member Tyler Hubbard, CMA Musician of the Year Jenee Fleenor and one member of Rascal Flatts tested positive for COVID-19 in the days and hours leading up to the awards show. Lady A also dropped out at the last minute due to a positive test in one of their immediate families.
The 2020 CMA Awards took place live at Nashville’s Music City Center. Rigorous testing, as well as other protocols, were in place for the night, but after artists and their guests were spotted maskless at tables and mingling on the show floor, the Country Music Association issued a statement further clarifying its policies.
“We are following all protocols that have been put in place by the CDC as well as the creative unions to ensure we provide the safest environment possible. Prior to even stepping onto our footprint at MCC, every single person (including artists and their reps) was required to be tested, with many testing repeatedly throughout the week as an extra measure of precaution,” said a representative on behalf of the CMA. “Just as with COVID regulations at restaurants, all in attendance are required to wear a mask any time they leave their assigned seat. Staff and crew are also required to wear PPE at all times and, of course, practice social and physical distancing. Tables are spaced eight feet apart with no more than four people seated per table.”