The Eurovision venue for 2021, Rotterdam Ahoy, will be laying off nearly half of their staff. This is due to the cancellation of events scheduled at the venue and the overall impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Closed since 13 March, business hasn’t been good at the Rotterdam Ahoy Arena. Like so many other venues across Europe, it has been unable to host the large events it depends upon. This has made it financially unviable to keep on all of its staff. Out of the 270 staff who are permanent employees, 100 will be losing their jobs.
According to Ahoy’s director Jolanda Jansen, who spoke to Dutch paper de Volkskrant in this interview, things are dire for Ahoy, and the industries, particularly catering, that its staff represents. She also highlights that Ahoy is not the only company affected, though for investment reasons Ahoy was in a worse situation.
It really is a bloodbath. I think it is dramatic. Our turnover was reduced from 45 million euros to 0. There is simply no work, the catering industry has come to a complete standstill. We cannot do otherwise.
Mojo Concerts and the RAI are also cutting more than 30 percent of the jobs. We are a little higher, because we had already invested a lot in a new concert hall and the congress building, which will be completed in the autumn.Jolanda Jansen, to Volkskrant (translated from Dutch)
Lack of Eurovision (and other events) hurting
In normal times, a hall like Ahoy will have to fill three-quarters of its calendar to remain profitable. This is of course out of the question with the current coronavirus outbreak and losing the Eurovision Song Contest was a massive blow to the Ahoy organisers.
It was the biggest event in their calendar that also included handball qualification matches for the European Championships, the Korfball League Final and any number of fairs.
Jansen is looking forward to 2021 though. She is still calling on the Dutch government to keep up their subsidy to businesses hit by the pandemic (known as NOW). However, recent tests of the air ventilation in the Ahoy Arena have been positive. Having a well-replenished airflow is a key step in lowering COVID-19 risk.
While the news may not be positive for those who will lose their jobs, the Rotterdam Ahoy arena is still committed to finding ways to host Eurovision 2021, due to be held in May.
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