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Music stars from Covid-infected states get pass on NYC quarantine for VMAs

August 22, 2020

When music’s biggest stars descend on New York for the Video Music Awards this week, NYPD cops will show up to check out the shows.

But they won’t be judging the talent. Officers in the NYPD’s TV/Movie unit will see if the performers and their entourages are wearing masks and staying socially distant, city officials told The Post.

Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande Taylor Swift and many others are set to perform at various outdoor locations “with limited or no audience” on Sunday. The show’s original location at Barclays Arena was dropped due to COVID-19 concerns.

“The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Citywide Events is working in close coordination with the production to ensure guidelines are being followed,” a City Hall spokesperson said, adding that the NYPD unit will be doing “compliance checks during the production.”

But unlike other travelers, the VMA musicians, singers and dancers won’t have to follow a state rule to quarantine for 14 days if they come to New York from any of 34 states, including California and Florida, with average COVID infection rates exceeding 10 percent.

Under an executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, anyone who violates the quarantine order is subject to a fine up to $10,000 or up to 15 days in jail.

But the state Department of Health has granted the VMAs a semi-exemption to the quarantine rule.

They can “participate in the production of the show,” a spokeswoman for Cuomo said, “but they will only interact with other members of the cast and crew and will quarantine when not working.”

To receive the exemption, the VMAs agreed to police itself with “rigorous safety protocols including testing and screening and compliance checks by a special compliance officer.”

Some celebs are finding other ways to skirt the COVID-19 rules.

Kanye West flew into Teterboro Airport, N.J., on Thursday, then headed into Manhattan, where he pulled over on the West Side Highway to switch vehicles, and visited an art gallery in Chelsea, The Post reported.

Later that day, he headed back through the Lincoln Tunnel to catch another flight.

The quarantine rules do not apply to someone from a restricted state who is “passing through” New York for less than 24 hours, but that’s meant for those stopping at rest stops or on travel layovers.

West’s wife Kim Kardashian and their four kids remained in LA, but it was unclear whether he flew in from California. The rapper’s rep did not answer questions emailed Friday.

Meanwhile, about 415,000 travelers flying or driving into New York since June 25 after visiting one of the  34 restricted states have “voluntarily” filled out health forms as of Friday, state officials said.

The forms ask for the traveler’s home state, their destination, the names, ages and of genders of each of their children, and contact information such as email address and phone numbers, among other data.

“Do you consent to receive daily monitoring messages via text from the New York State Contact Tracing Program?” the form asks.

“If you do not consent to text, you will receive a daily phone call instead,” it adds.

Those who refuse to fill out the form face a summons and a possible $2,000 fine.

Officials cite “nearly 100 percent compliance” so far.

But the forms are also meant to serve as a deterrent to make people to think twice about traveling to restricted states.

Like a speed limit that doesn’t catch all speeders, officials acknowledge, many who violate the 14-day quarantine order may evade detection.

“We’re not expecting to catch every person. We have no way to enforce it on every single person,” one said.

The completed health forms are sent to local health departments to follow up with phone calls and text messages to check on compliance with the 14-day quarantine, which comes with its own set of rules and restrictions. The travelers must not go into public. They must remain distant from others in the same residence, and check their own temperature, among other requirements.

NYC’s “Test and Trace” program, run by the city’s Health + Hospitals, has made more than 200,000 phone calls and texts to the restricted travelers since June 8, including 110,000 who landed in airports, officials told The Post.

The contact tracers have also knocked on 2,000 doors looking for people who didn’t answer the calls and texts, and found about half of them, they said Friday.

“New Yorkers we are reaching indicate that they are safely separating, and appreciate the resources we are offering to support them,” such as food delivery or a free hotel room if needed, a spokesperson said.

The city’s Sheriff’s Office has also stopped 2,197 private vehicles crossing the George Washington, Goethals and Bayonne bridges, the Outerbridge Crossing and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, a tiny fraction of the cars that enter New York each day. Masks are also distributed.

If drivers say they have spent extended time in a restricted state, they, too, must fill out a traveler health form and self-quarantine for 14 days, officials said.

The checkpoints and required forms have raised some hackles. Staten Island City Councilman Joseph Borelli called the rules “insane.”

“This is an unconstitutional breach of authority. States are added and taken off the (restricted) list a week later. No reasonable person can plan their life around Cuomo’s whims and de Blasio’s desperation,” he griped.

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