Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe isn't messing around when it comes to COVID-19 precautions for both performers and fans as the band sets out on their Metal Tour of the Year alongside Megadeth and others. The trek kicked off in Austin, Texas, on Friday (Aug. 20).

In a message on social media this week, Blythe made clear that Lamb of God are taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously both onstage and off. And with good reason, as more artists face health setbacks while out on the road — Korn recently rescheduled several concerts after singer Jonathan Davis got COVID; Buckcherry last month canceled shows after two of their musicians tested positive for it. On top of that, in just the last two weeks, Corey TaylorBruce Dickinson, Sebastian Bach and guitarists for both Tesla and Lynyrd Skynyrd all revealed they'd also tested positive.

To that point, Blythe said, "Tour after tour is [canceling or] rescheduling because someone tested positive for COVID, [with] some folks I personally know getting VERY sick. Therefore, we are going to try our best to maintain #thebubble so we can get through this motherfucker. (That means a strict NO GUESTS BACKSTAGE policy — ZERO exceptions, so don't bother asking me.) We will be wearing masks backstage, not hanging out on other band's buses, etc. Welcome to the #NOFUNTOUR2021. These are weird times, but as Hunter S. Thompson said, 'When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.'"

As Lamb of God and others resume touring after a largely concert-less 2020, promoters such as AEG Presents and Live Nation are requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative COVID test from concertgoers, mirroring the practice that several other major businesses and institutions are following.

Blythe continued, "We don't get sick days out here, so spare me the 'it's just a bad flu' crap. 'A bad flu' doesn’t work for a singer, OK? I'm a healthy dude [with] a strong immune system — in 25+ years I have [canceled] precisely ONE show due to illness (food poisoning in [Las] Vegas) — shitting [and] puking violently at the same time, [and] I don’t want to start now."

"On that note," he added, "if you are coming out to a show, if I were you, I would A) be vaccinated [and] B) wear a fucking mask. These are outdoor shows, [and] while science tells us that outdoor transmission is much less likely, I would still go with better safe than sorry. If you think vaccines [and] masks are nonsense, I have ZERO interest in arguing with you. Good luck to you, [and] I mean that 100% — I wish illness on NO ONE."

For those "on the fence, wondering 'Hmmm… should I bring a mask to the show?'" Blythe said the unequivocal answer is "YES. Will it be hot [and] uncomfortable? Probably. Is it doable? Definitely. If my old ass can fly screaming across the stage for over an hour with giant blasts of fire going off all around me, you can wear a mask for a few hours to help protect" you and others.

The 2021 Metal Tour of the Year also includes the bands Trivium and Hatebreed and is scheduled to continue across North America through the end of the summer. See the dates here and get tickets here.

Vaccination efforts continue as 51 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Aug. 20 and more easily transmissible variants have emerged. The CDC now recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in most indoor settings.

2021 U.S. Rock + Metal Festivals

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