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MTV Video Music Awards to Take Place in Brooklyn With Governor Cuomo’s OK

August show at Barclay’s Center could go forward with limited or no audience

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the MTV Video Music Awards will be allowed to take place in Brooklyn this August.

Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards will take place at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on August 30th, according to an announcement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo confirmed the show at a press conference Monday as New York State, and specifically New York City, continued its COVID-19 re-opening plan. Cuomo didn’t go into detail about the show, although a message accompanying his announcement (at the 12:45 mark of the video below) said that all safety measures will be followed, “including limiting or no audience.”

Per a statement, MTV and the Barclay’s Center have been working with state and local officials to come up with a show plan that “does not compromise the health and safety of anyone involved in the event.” Among the measures being explored are “extensive social procedures, meaningful capacity limitations, the virtualization of components where possible, and limited capacity or no audience.”

One detail about the show MTV did provide was that the 2020 VMAs would feature “epic performances from various iconic locations” across all five boroughs in New York City.

“We’re elated to bring the 2020 VMAs back to NYC, the cultural mecca of the world where music and entertainment are woven into the DNA,” said Bruce Gillmer, ViacomCBS Media Networks’ president of music, music talent, programming and events.

Back in May, reps for MTV told Variety that they were trying to figure out a way to safely host the VMAs this year. At the time, the goal was to host some kind of physical production, although a spokesperson said they were also exploring contingency plans, like virtual performances or an audience-free show.

Governor Cuomo’s decision to approve a show like the VMAs is particularly notable considering New York City was the epicenter of the global pandemic just a few months ago. Cases in the city have dropped significantly since their peak in April, and NYC is working through a regimented re-opening plan that could still be altered. For instance, at the same press conference Monday, Cuomo said he was considering changing some of the guidelines for Phase III of re-opening — which NYC was set to enter July 6th, and covers such activities as indoor dining — after noting sharp rises in COVID-19 cases elsewhere in the United States.