The 2020 CMA Awards took over Nashville's Music City Center on Wednesday night (Nov. 11), but as the novel coronavirus hits the highest-ever new daily cases in the United States, there were a few empty seats at country music's biggest night.
A number of CMA performers and presenters had to pull out of the show in the week leading up to the event, as they reported positive coronavirus tests. In response, the Country Music Association issued a statement, noting that its policy of testing artists before they come to rehearsals is working.
"As you may have heard, unfortunately Lee Brice and Tyler Hubbard both tested positive for COVID-19 and are unable to join us for the CMA Awards on Wednesday night," reads the statement. "Although this is incredibly disappointing, not only for the show but also for CMA personally as we care deeply for these artists and only want the best for them and their families, it does reassure us that our protocols are working. Our process enabled us to manage each situation immediately and before either artist ever entered our set. Most importantly, it prevented anyone else from being exposed. We have been extremely diligent with our testing process in advance of anyone entering our footprint. Every single person has been tested, and many will be tested repeatedly throughout the week. This is in addition to wearing PPE and of course practicing social and physical distancing. We have an incredible show planned and look forward to bringing the Country Music community together. However, our number one priority has been and will continue to be the safety of our artists, our crew and our staff. That will never be compromised."