Although new measures have been implemented to control spiking COVID-19 cases in the Seoul metropolitan area, award shows are not taking these seriously enough.
The three national television networks, KBS, MBC, and SBS continue to hold year-end award ceremonies amid the pandemic. Prior to hosting events, they established plans to comply with the new and enhanced administrative order to contain the outbreak. However, it was reported most of their shows did not adhere to their plans.
At the '2020 SBS Entertainment Awards', there was no social distancing whatsoever at the nominees and celebrities' tables. All celebrity guests wore a face mask but they sat next to each other who were at the same table. Presenters and award winners shared a microphone without their face masks. Some celebrities even made the acceptance speech as a team, all without their face masks.
'2020 KBS Entertainment Awards' did a better job than its counterpart SBS, but they also failed to comply when it came to the grand prize. All nominees were on stage together without any face coverings, not to mention the winner gave the acceptance speech without a mask.
Some non-governmental organizations raised their voice against all three broadcast stations for carrying out the award show during this time. Their biggest concern is the fact that award shows taking place in a closed indoor space are highly likely to become a new COVID-19 epicenter. For instance, many staff members accompany a single celebrity and trophies could be a medium of transmission.
Indeed, these entities are exempt from the executive order. However, critics point out the stations should take preemptive measures as asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are increasing at an alarming rate. The stations should prioritize public safety over their advertisement revenue associated with the award show.