Despite COVID-19 numbers rising in many states, country singer Chase Rice headed back to the stage on Saturday to perform in front of thousands of fans — the vast majority of whom didn't wear masks or adhere to social distancing recommendations.
Chase didn't hide the fact that fans were packed shoulder-to-shoulder at the Tennessee show, posting a video to his Instagram Story showing the crowd singing along to his hit "Eyes on You."
TMZ reported that 4,000 people showed up for the show at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee, which is a former prison-turned-event center. However, a rep for Chase told Wonderwall.com that the number of attendees was actually far lower.
"While the venue that normally holds 10,000 was capped at 4,000 capacity, there were [less than] 1,000 fans actually in attendance," the rep said.
The event center, via an Instagram post, had encouraged fans to spread out as to maintain social distance. It also said it was selling bandanas that could be used as face coverings. Judging by social media videos, those messages were lost among the fans as they swarmed the stage.
"We back [sunglasses emoji]," Chase wrote alongside a video that showed the crowd.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, local cases of COVID-19 are surging. As of showtime, the Volunteer State had 40,172 cases, and 584 people had lost their lives due to complications caused by the disease.
Social media users were not kind to Chase or the venue for allowing the concert to happen amid the pandemic.
"Chase Rice just played a concert to an enormous crowd of unmasked fans here in Tennessee. For once, I am at a loss for words," one Twitter user wrote.
Some social media users called the concert and lack of regard for safety precautions "reckless" and "stupid."
"I love me some Chase Rice, so this is super disappointing. Ugh! Why would you hold a freaking concert with a freaking pandemic still going on!? and with no end in sight!!!! I guess it's $$ over people for some artist," another person said.
A radio DJ facetiously added, "I'm really excited to stay at home until 2047 because of things like this…"
Interestingly, the venue has two more country artists still on the books over the next five weeks. Likewise, Chase has a concert in Kentucky set for Friday.