Gene Simmons has been vocal about COVID-19 safety throughout the pandemic, and now with the vaccines widely available in the United States, he hopes KISS's audience does what it can to keep each other safe.
When Kiss postponed its 'End of the Road' tour last year due to the pandemic, the band vowed not to resume the tour until there was a proven treatment or a cure of COVID. With three life-saving vaccines available in the U.S., Kiss is set to resume the tour next week.
Simmons told Ultimate Classic Rock that he supports vaccine mandates in general, but he's unsure whether Kiss can mandate vaccination for entry to its shows. The band will require masks.
"My druthers would be that everybody is mandated to get vaccines," he said. "I hope everybody is going to be wearing their masks. But we can only control what we can control and different states and different countries have different rules."
Kiss is requiring crew to be vaccinated or masked up at all times, and the band has canceled all meet-and-greets due to pandemic concerns.
He continued, deconstructing the argument that vaccine mandates are a violation of civil liberties.
"[People say] 'I have my rights, don't tell me what to do,'" Simmons said. "Which is curious, because you do not have the right to drive down the highway in a car without a seatbelt. You must stop at a red light. That's not a right you have. And you don't have the right to walk naked down the street. These are not life-threatening ideas. We're talking about a f---in' pandemic and people are fighting it."
Paul Stanley and Simmons have often engaged pandemic skeptics via social media over the past year, pointing out that skepticism about the severity of the pandemic or flat out refusal to comply with safety regulations has cause the situation to drag on interminably and led to even more hospitalization, death and economic damage.
Simmons added that his chief worry is that vulnerable people and children will be the ones to suffer the most.
“I’m not worried — and it’s unkind to say this — I’m not worried if an idiot gets COVID and dies,” he concluded. “I’m worried he takes other people with him. Who didn’t have a choice. It doesn’t have to be death. Being in a hospital is horrific. There are so many cases of people who were deniers and who are begging in the hospital to get the vaccine. But it’s too late.”