The 2020 VMAs were also held in New York last August, but due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the show took on a no-audience format where performers and presenters appeared in various locations throughout the city in both live and pre-taped segments.
MTV stated that for the 2021 ceremony, “The health and safety of artists, fans, staff, and partners remain the number one priority, and MTV and Barclays Center are working closely with state and local officials to implement best practices in order to safely bring together music fans from around the globe.”
Barclays Center’s current safety guidelines require non-vaccinated patrons to wear masks at all times except when eating, and for vaccinated patrons to wear masks except while seated in vaccinated-only seating sections. The arena is also requiring physically distanced seating in all non-vaccinated seating sections. MTV stated that additional safety protocols will be announced closer to the event.
Additionally, MTV will be collaborating with 9/11 Day, the nonprofit that began and leads the federally recognized September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, for a series of service-oriented activities during the week leading up to the VMAs in observance of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.