Chase Rice Says COVID-19 Pandemic Is ‘Over': ‘We Are Going Back to Normal Life’
"We’re going back to normal life, and if you don’t want to do that, stay home," the singer furthers. "We’re partying, country music’s back, music’s back. Live events are back and I couldn’t be happier.”
It did seem, for a while, that live music — especially country music — was rolling out again in full force, as tours and festivals began to take place more routinely. But Dierks Bentley was forced to cancel his Seven Peaks Music Festival in Colorado in early July due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions not being lifted there. Garth Brooks also revealed on Tuesday (Aug. 3) that he is contemplating the future of his Stadium Tour due to nationwide concern over rising cases of COVID-19.
Rice's interview comes as the CDC and other public health officials have been sounding the alarm on a new surge of COVID-19 that centers around the Delta variant, which is more infections than the original virus and can be transmitted even by people who are fully vaccinated. In rare cases, fully vaccinated people can also suffer "breakthrough" infections from the Delta variant, though being vaccinated helps protect them from becoming extremely sick in most cases.
The CDC reports that 93 percent of all newly reported COVID-19 cases derive from the Delta variant, and unvaccinated people account for more than 97 percent of all current COVID-related hospitalizations.
Rice previously drew criticism from fellow country music stars in the summer of 2020 for performing at a packed show as COVID-19 numbers were surging. After Rice posted videos to his Instagram of him playing a show to an unmasked, packed audience, Kelsea Ballerini called the singer “selfish.”
Rice has been among the most outspoken country singers in regard to opposing restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020.
"In my opinion — you gotta keep people safe and all that — I mean, f--k this. They gotta let us go play and the people that are healthy can decide if they want to come or not," Rice told Taste of Country in June of 2020. "That’s what the American Constitution is all about, is us having the choice."
Currently, Rice has tour dates scheduled that stretch into early October.