We are all eager to go to events again. Festival here, theater show there. But such an event, often with hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors, is almost unthinkable. Yet on Monday about five hundred people come together in the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht.
The first trial event of Fieldlab Events takes place there. This is a joint initiative of both the corporate and public events sector and the government, which is investigating how large events can take place safely during corona time.
The visitors are not immediately allowed to go to a festival with world-famous artists, a business conference is planned. State Secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs and Climate) will open the trial event. The visitors are people from the event sector, they will talk about the future of their sector. Next Saturday a performance by cabaret artist Guido Weijers will follow, also in the Beatrix Theater. There are also two football matches with 1500 supporters, two events in the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam and two outdoor festivals in Biddinghuizen.
There was also a test event in Spain recently, where no new infections emerged.
– 5 Hour Show (@ 5 Hour Show) January 8, 2021
Corona test before event
There are rules: participants must undergo a corona test no more than 48 hours before the event. Measures also apply during the event. When people come in they have to answer questions about any complaints, someone measures their temperature and some visitors undergo a quick test. Five days after the event, everyone takes another test.
The visitors wear a motion sensor during the event, so that it is clear afterwards exactly how much contact they have had with each other and where they have walked. There are also ‘bubbles’ created in the theater, of different groups of people. For example, each group has its own entrance and toilet room. Different rules also apply to certain groups. Some have to wear a mouth mask, others are behind a splash guard.
Months of preparation
In November, the organization already received permission for the trial events, which would take place in January. But due to the rise of the British variant and the stricter measures, the events were temporarily postponed.
Now the events are going ahead anyway, because it is necessary for the industry to test in advance how they can safely organize large events. For example, a store could open without too much preparation after the lockdown, but an event is prepared for months, explains the spokesperson for Fieldlab Events.
Different types of events have been chosen, indoors and outdoors, so that all types of large gatherings can be investigated. Various universities and researchers are involved in the research. The principal investigator is Andreas Voss, professor of infection prevention at Radboud university medical center and member of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).
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