Emmys to Be Held Outdoors at L.A. Live as Concerns About Rising COVID Cases Grow

Public health experts expect the number of COVID-19 cases to continue to climb in the coming months

Photo: OBYN BECK/getty

A year after the Emmy Awards were held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will be held in person — albeit, not in the Microsoft Theater, where it is usually hosted.

The Television Academy announced Tuesday that it will opt for an "indoor/outdoor" model held at L.A. Live's Event Deck, directly behind the Microsoft Theater. The organization said that the space will better provide opportunities for "socially distanced audience seating."

In addition to the new venue, the Academy said that it is limiting its number of guests — despite having already mailed out invitations.

"Following discussions with health and safety experts for Los Angeles County and the Emmy ceremonies, the Television Academy has concluded that we must further limit the number of nominees attending the Creative Arts Emmys on Sept. 11 and 12 as well as the 73rd Emmys on Sept. 19," the Academy said in a statement obtained by Variety.

"Although invitations have just been mailed out, nominated teams of three or more will now be limited to no more than four tickets per nomination," the statement detailed.

"Unfortunately, this means not all nominees will be able to attend this year's awards. We recommend those on nominated teams coordinate between themselves and identify how they will allot their four tickets before they RSVP."

"The health and safety of our nominees is of paramount importance," the statement continued. "Conversations are ongoing, and we will provide further information as it is available. The Television Academy appreciates everyone's understanding as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 delta variant."

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The announcement comes just days after the Academy announced that the number of people allowed on the red carpet will be "very limited" out of an "abundance of caution and for the safety of Emmy nominees, guests and media."

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Much of the United States has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the more contagious Delta variant of the virus.

As the summer months wane and fall approaches, public health experts fear that cases will only continue to climb, partially because of increased testing when students return to schools and universities.

"Many of these sites have regular screening testing, many of them have a testing requirement upon entry, and that means that we'll have tens of thousands more people getting tested every day," Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday, according to The Los Angeles Times. "It does mean for the months of August and September we're likely to see our case numbers climb."

In Los Angeles County, the current positivity rate is at 4.4 percent, according to the LA Times, which is down a bit from last week's 6.6 percent. Ferrer credited the decrease to the county's indoor mask mandate, which was reinstated last month.

"Masking remains an effective way to reduce transmission," she said.

The 73rd Emmy Awards, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, will air live on Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS, and will be available to stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.

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