Chase Rice is declaring the COVID-19 pandemic is “over.”
In an interview with Audacy’s Coop that was taped on July 20, but first aired on Monday, Rice discussed the return of live music and how the COVID-19 pandemic — which is currently seeing a spike, thanks to the contagious spread of the delta variant — had upended that sector of the business for the last year and a half. But for him, he’s more than happy to move on.
“It’s something that you start losing hope towards the end of last year because, in the beginning of last year, it’s like, ‘Eh, we’ll be back in no time.’ And that changes pretty [quickly] to, ‘Man, I don’t know if this is ever gonna get back to normal,'” he said. “Thank God it is.
“This thing’s over,” he added. “If you don’t think so, move on. It’s over. We’re going back to normal life, and if you don’t want to do that, stay home. We’re partying, country music’s back, music’s back. Live events are back and [I] couldn’t be happier.”
In June 2020, the country singer hosted a controversial live performance at Petros’ historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary outside of Nashville, where the less than 1,000 concert attendees did not practice social distancing nor wear face masks.
“I understand that there’s a lot of varying opinions, a lot of different opinions on COVID-19, how it works with live music crowds and what all that looks like,” he said in response to the criticism over the concert via an Instagram video after the show. “My biggest thing is y’all. Y’all are why I get to write songs, y’all are why I get to tour the country, why I get to do live shows and sing these songs to you guys and you guys sing them back. You guys are everything to me, so your safety is a huge priority.”
Rice later announced a drive-in show while promoting safer social-distancing guidelines, adding, “The biggest thing for all of us is the safer we are now, the quicker we get to actual normal live shows, which I know we all want.”
He also faced backlash in November when he promoted his No. 2 Country Airplay hit “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” with Florida Georgia Line by joking that he had coronavirus, which his collaborator Tyler Hubbard had tested positive for earlier that month.
Listen to Rice’s new interview below.