"Wait. Is this real?" Cassadee Pope replied to her tweet. "I’m so confused as to how this many people got approved by a venue to gather during a pandemic. Wtf?"
Ballerini wasn't the only high-profile onlooker who was disturbed by the images. Country singer Mickey Guyton re-posted video of the concert with the caption: "This is happening in Tennessee where cases are spiking y’all. Jesus help us."
In a statement to Billboard earlier on Sunday, Brian May, VP of the Brushy Mountain Group, said that the venue's capacity had been reduced from 10,000 to 4,000 ahead of Rice's concert, but there were fewer than 1,000 people in attendance at his show.
"All local requirements were abided by for the recent concert, and numerous precautions were taken," he said. He indicated that everyone's temperature was checked before they were allowed entry, and hand sanitizer was given to attendees. "Vendors and staff were advised to wear masks and gloves," he said, though it was not mandated.
But May noted that the venue was unable to enforce the recommended distancing during the show, even though it was posted around the space. "We are re-evaluating the series from top to bottom -- from implementing further safety measures, to adding stanchions, to converting the space to drive-in style concerts, to postponing shows," he said.
The Tennessean reports that officials in the state have been debating mandating and enforcing the use of face masks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Nashville Board of Health recently voted to implement a mandate, with it going into effect June 28. Tennessee has had a total of 40,172 cases of COVID-19 thus far, with 6,155 of them confirmed in the last seven days, according to records posted by the CDC.