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In a new photo shoot for Billboard, Eric Church was photographed with a bandaid on his arm, after getting his COVID vaccine shot. He’s doing his part to get concerts back at 100% capacity.

Eric told Billboard, “That has been the hardest thing about COVID: It takes what you do. I used the music and the stage to get me through some of those darker things that were more personal. Take that away, and you’ve got to deal with some of the stuff you maybe haven’t dealt with.”

Church took a somewhat different path from his fellow artists. He didn’t plan an elaborate livestreaming event or even sell clever new merchandise. Instead he met with epidemiologists, venue managers and industry vets within his own circle, determined to figure out how to get back onstage safely. At first, his personal team of experts said touring wouldn’t return until spring 2023 at the earliest. Then, with unprecedented speed, pharmaceutical companies developed vaccines. Eric said, “I view it as a godsent miracle. It became very clear to me that the only way to really get back to normal is through vaccinations. You’ve got to get needles in arms.”

Church needs as many of those fans as possible to get vaccinated so he can hit the road. However, with a fan base that touches all political realms, he appeals to all sides, while being bullish that we need to be vaccinated. He said, “If you believe you shouldn’t, I don’t have a problem with it. I’m a liberty guy, too. I get it. But I view this a little differently than most other things. We’ve never encountered this.”

Gallery: Eric Church