Finally a full room: hundreds of visitors to trial event

An event with hundreds of visitors, in the current coronalockdown it is almost unthinkable. Still, about five hundred people will meet in the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht on Monday. It is the first pilot event of Fieldlab Events, a joint initiative of both the corporate and public events sector and the government, to investigate how major events can safely take place in coronatijd.

A business conference is scheduled on Monday, which will open State Secretary Mona Keijzer (Economic Affairs and Climate Affairs). For this, people from the event sector have been invited to talk about the future of their sector. Next Saturday there will be a performance by cabaret artist Guido Weijers, also at the Beatrix Theater. Furthermore, two football matches with 1500 supporters are on the role, two events at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam and two outdoor festivals in Biddinghuizen.

Participants must undergo a corontest no more than 48 hours before the event. Measures also apply during the event. For example, when entering, questions are asked about possible complaints, the temperature is measured and some undergo a quick test. After the event, everyone does a test again, five days after the event.

During the event, visitors wear a motion sensor, so that afterwards it is clear exactly how much contact they have had with each other and where they have walked. In the theater, โ€œbubblesโ€ are created from 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 mouthcap, others sit behind a mudguard.

In November, the organisation was already granted permission for the pilot events, which would take place in January. These were temporarily postponed due to the rise of the British corona variant and the more stringent measures for that purpose.

Events continue, because it is necessary for the industry to test in advance how large events can be organised safely. For example, a store could open without too much preparation after the lockdown, but an event is being prepared for months, explains the spokesman for Fieldlab Events.

Different types of events have been chosen, both inside and outside, so that all kinds of big meetings can be explored. Various universities and researchers are involved in the research. The lead researcher is Andreas Voss, Professor of Infection Prevention at Radboudumc and member of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).