Fan outrage caused 'Bachelorette' to change COVID protocols in the middle of live show

The three-hour long season finale of The Bachelorette got off to a dramatic start Tuesday, but it had nothing to do with roses or relationships. Instead, it was viewers on Twitter noticing that the live studio audience for the After the Final Rose portion of the night was unmasked after host Kaitlyn Bristowe opened the evening live from the studio. And some were shocked that ABC would show a room full of unmasked people during the current surge with the Omicron variant.


— Kristen Baldwin (@KristenGBaldwin) December 22, 2021

How many people in the #bachelorette audience get #COVID19 ? Wear a mask dummies.

— Mikecthat (@mcmicmike) December 22, 2021

I can’t believe #TheBachelorette really pulled up with a live audience, not a mask in sight, & didn’t think anything was wrong with that…In the middle of the Omicron surge??? It’s the lack of foresight for me.

— A🌷 (@AmyLynn0721) December 22, 2021

It turns out the powers that be were actually listening, because later on in the night when Bristowe, whose normal co-host Tayshia Adams was not there after being exposed to COVID, checked back in with viewers who were still watching the events unfold on The Bachelorette, she gave an update on the audience’s mask status.

“We have seen a lot of chatter online, so just so we’re clear, everyone around me has tested negative,” Bristowe said. “But just to exercise additional caution, our audience will remain masked throughout the rest of the show.”

Of course, viewers had a reaction to that as well, both criticizing ABC for giving in to the will of the Twitter-sphere, and also impressed that everyone was able to get masks on so quickly.

I still can’t believe Twitter bullied abc into making everyone in the audience wear a mask when they already took the precautions

— Cassandra DiBella (@Cassdib) December 22, 2021

Whoever made the decision to have the studio audience mask up so fast should handle all rapid-test distribution matters!! #TheBachelorette

— Taylor Hodgkins 🧣 (@queen_elvis) December 22, 2021

Twitter!! We did it!! We made the whole audience have to wear masks 😂

— Shared News (@sharednews) December 22, 2021

Sure enough, when the After the Final Rose portion of the night officially began, there were the masks.

And there was some non-mask related drama Tuesday night as well, because after two hours of the show leading viewers to believe that Brandon Jones was going to be Michelle Young’s choice and not Nayte Olukoya, her moment on the beach with Olukoya proved otherwise.

Here's to forever 🥂❤️

— The Bachelorette (@BacheloretteABC) December 22, 2021

Because he proposed, and she said yes!

The Bachelorette season finale aired Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.

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