62nd Grammy Awards - Show - Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2020 - Billie Eilish accepts the award for Best New Artist. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The 2021 Grammys, originally scheduled for January 31st, have been postponed due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19, multiple sources confirm to Rolling Stone. In a statement released Tuesday evening, organizers, citing “thoughtful conversations with health experts, our host and artists scheduled to appear,” confirmed that they’ll stage the award show on Sunday, March 14th.
"The deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles, with hospital services being overwhelmed, ICUs having reached capacity, and new guidance from state and local governments have all led us to conclude that postponing our show was the right thing to do,” the Recording Academy and CBS, the network broadcasting the show, said in a statement. “Nothing is more important than the health and safety of those in our music community and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly on producing the show. We want to thank all of the talented artists, the staff, our vendors and especially this year’s nominees for their understanding, patience and willingness to work with us as we navigate these unprecedented times.”
The Grammys had already planned on a limited show for 2021, forgoing an audience completely and only allowing presenters and performers on-site during the show. Nominated artists wouldn’t have been allowed on-site either, likely leading to a situation similar to the 2020 Emmys where nominees appeared and accepted awards remotely.
The 2021 Grammy nominations were led by Beyoncé who picked up nine nominations, while Dua Lipa, Taylor Swift and Roddy Ricch followed behind with six nods each. A rep for Trevor Noah, who was tapped as the host for this year’s event, confirmed to Rolling Stone that he will remain the host. (a rep for the Recording Academy did not immediately reply to a request for comment.)
The Recording Academy’s decision to shift the event to later in the year occurred one day after SAG-AFTRA — the union representing actors and other industry professionals — and the Producers’ Guild recommended a “temporary hold on in-person production.”
"Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said on Monday.
California as a whole has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases following Thanksgiving and the holiday season, setting a new single-day record of 74,000 new cases on January 4th, according to The Los Angeles Times. In Los Angeles County, the hospital system has been stretched so thin that Covid-19 patients are often forced to wait in ambulances for hours until hospital beds open up, while the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency has directed ambulance crews to ration oxygen and not transfer patients who have virtually no chance of surviving.