"Theaters, concert halls and conference halls can already open safely. Without distance rules, but with mandatory corona tests." This is the conclusion of researchers from Fieldlab Events, which, in collaboration with the Dutch government and scientists, is investigating how events can take place corona-proof again.
Although intensive care units in Dutch hospitals are groaning under a record number of corona patients, Fieldlab Events is committed to ensuring that theaters and conference halls can safely open their doors to the general public (or at least half of that general public).
Several trial events took place in recent months, such as a cabaret show, a conference, a dance festival, football matches and a performance by André Hazes. Those events received permission from the government to knowingly violate the corona rules. More than that: they took place in collaboration with the government. Fieldlab had to investigate how large events can take place safely while a pandemic is underway. Scientists imposed conditions on the visitors and monitored their behavior and the associated risk of contamination. For example, they kept a close eye on how much mutual contact visitors had, whether they were wearing their mouth masks and what the oxygen level in the room was.
The first results of the Fieldlab experiments are encouraging. According to the researchers, the chance of corona infection at an event is just as high as at home. Obviously on the condition that certain measures are respected. Most important rule: only visitors who can present a negative corona test are allowed in.
According to the researchers, indoor events could continue even when the number of corona infections in society is high. "The risk of contamination is greatly reduced because of testing, and also because people sit in a fixed place and wear a mask."
The results are based on a conference on February 15 and a performance by comedian Guido Weijers on February 20, both in the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht. According to Fieldlab, no contamination took place at these events. A Fieldlab employee did test positive after the congress, but according to source and contact research would not yet have been contagious on the day of the congress. We are still waiting for the results of the other trial events.
Fieldlab is now asking the Dutch government to restart events that take place indoors as soon as possible. Their proposal is to use only half the capacity of the halls when the overall contamination rates are high, as is the case now. They also recommend requiring face masks. The research results are submitted to the Outbreak Management Team, which advises the government in the fight against an epidemic.
The Netherlands has not stopped experimenting yet. Efteling will open to 8,000 visitors on 24 April. Before you go to the phone or the site: you cannot reserve a ticket. The amusement park itself invites loyal visitors.