Zac Brown is pleading for people to take the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic much more seriously.
On Wednesday, the Grammy-winning musician begged his followers in an Instagram video to stay indoors to avoid spreading the coronavirus, which has caused him to postpone his band’s tour and subsequently let go nearly his entire road crew.
“It was a hard day today,” Brown, 41, said in the video. “For the last 15 years, my crew and who I carry with me out on the road to play my shows and do what we do, I’ve had to let go about 90% of my family. The people that I’ve traveled with and grew my business with.”
“The people that I high-five out on the stage, the people who have done all their jobs and done them well,” the singer continued. “I hate having to make this call, but I can’t generate out there — I can’t tour because of the coronavirus and everyone’s safety and I’m fine with that.”
“But I’ve got this message that I want to say to the people that aren’t taking this seriously and to the people that are out partying and to the people that are sitting on beaches and to the people that don’t care if they got this virus or bring it home to their grandparents and maybe kill their grandparents or complicate their lives,” Brown said. “The longer that America doesn’t take this seriously and doesn’t stay in and try to contain this, the longer everyone is gonna be out of jobs, the longer we’re gonna be pushed into this recession that we are all about to enter into.”
Brown noted that “the sickness has just begun here” and pleaded for people to socially distance themselves, which has been suggested by health and government officials as the best way to stop the virus’ spread.
“America can heal from this, American can come together, we can celebrate with music, we can celebrate with song, we can celebrate on video chat,” he said. “But the sooner that we take action on this and we don’t wait on our government to tell us this was a serious issue and it should be … we’re late to the game.”
Brown also admitted that he was “pretty ashamed of the way our leadership has handled all of this,” saying that the American citizens have been “unable to rely on our government” to know what to do amid the pandemic.
“We have to decide for ourselves as Americans and we have to look out for the future of the economy and for each other,” he said. “I love to spread music and spread love through song and spread music to the world. I’m going to do my best to do that from closed doors, but if we are going to get back to what we were doing before this hit, then everyone has got to take this seriously.”
Despite the CDC’s suggestion for people to socially distance themselves, many Florida beaches have remained packed with people, such as the Clearwater Beach in West Florida, where many spring breakers have traveled.
In the U.S. as a whole, there have been at least 8,317 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 147 deaths as of Thursday morning, according to a New York Times database.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.
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