The year 2020 has been difficult for a number of reasons, a global pandemic chief among them. While there's no set date on when "normal" life may be able to resume, Reba McEntire is hoping that things will look a little different when the world can open up again.
"I hope our new normal is a better new normal," she told Sounds Like Nashville. "I hope we’re nicer. I hope we’re kinder. I wish all this hate and anxiety would go away. I don’t know if everybody is penned up and just needing the release, but I wish that would definitely go away. I want a better new normal."
McEntire began her pandemic in Oklahoma with her family, and while she's since returned to Nashville, not being able to interact with fans in the way she's accustomed to is proving difficult. "I have not secluded myself. I’m way too much of a people person," she said. "The thing that is the hardest is I can’t hug anymore. That hurts worse than anything. I can’t shake hands. Daddy always told us, ‘You look them in the eye and you shake their hands,’ so that’s two things that’s very foreign to me, but it’s for their safety as much as it is for mine."
"That’s why I wear a mask no matter where I go," she explained. "If I do go out, I wear a mask. I stay away from people as much as I can. It’s funny. They still want pictures and they want to hug. I just have to say, ‘Guys, we just got to keep our distance,’ but it’s for their good. I’m not surely a snob about it at all, and I never want to hurt anybody’s feelings."
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McEntire recently hosted the CMA Awards alongside Darius Rucker, and while the two did not wear masks during the broadcast, they stayed protected during rehearsals and in the venue, McEntire debuting a rhinestoned face shield and glasses for the evening.
The show was held without an audience inside Music City Center in Nashville, with the night's performers and nominees seated four to a table. "I'll tell you for me in between, when the commercials were on and we were coming back on, it was such a cool mingling session that the director kept yelling, '30 seconds!'" Rucker told PopCulture.com and other media after the show. "Because nobody wanted to sit down, everybody was up talking. It was really cool. It was a really fun time tonight."