Dan + Shay edged out a tough batch of competitors in the Duo of the Year category at the 2020 ACM Awards, ultimately bringing home the trophy at the awards show on Wednesday night (Sept. 16). As they looked out from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House, the bandmates acknowledged their fans, families and each other, reflecting on how grateful they are to continue being successful during a challenging year.

In fact, Shay Mooney admitted during a virtual "backstage" press room that their win is especially poignant given the current circumstances.

"Man, this means more to us now than ever," Mooney says. "We haven't had that experience of being able to go out on tour, feel that from the fans, feel the love for them and feel how our career's going. So to have that recognition, it just means a lot."

See the Best Pictures from the 2020 ACM Awards

Like most artists, after all, Dan + Shay have had to postpone their 2020 touring schedule due to social distancing measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While they understand the importance of the safety protocols, it was still jarring to go from being onstage in front of fans every night to wiping their entire tour calendar.

"In those months where we were not doing a lot, just having a lot of those unknowns ... it feels more great than ever to be recognized," Mooney continues. "We've realized that it can be taken away just like that, so we're thankful to still be doing this."

Even though the ACM Awards have brought the country music community back to some semblance of normalcy, there are still strict social distancing rules in place. For Dan + Shay, it's a little sad to have to keep appropriate spacing from their peers and friends in the industry who they haven't seen in several months.

"Country music is such a family!" says Dan Smyers with a laugh. "If someone's passing by in the hallway, it's hard not to give 'em a hug."

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