Today, the EBU along with Dutch broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have outlined their detailed health and safety protcol ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in May. The plan outlines measures that will be in place during the contest to keep all accredited individuals safe.
The contest organisers have also “reaffirmed” their hopes to hold this year’s contest under Scenario B which would see all artists performing at the Rotterdam Ahoy with limited audience and press capacity. The scenario decision is still subject to the ongoing health circumstances in the Netherlands.
“Determined” to united Europe
The contest’s Executive Supervisor Martin Österdahl has said today that the EBU are committed to “uniting Europe on one stage” and that the current plans are for “all artists [to perform] live in Rotterdam”.
The spirit and tradition of the Eurovision Song Contest is about uniting Europe on one stage and we are very much still determined to achieve this in Rotterdam in May. We are moving forward with our plans to produce a safe Eurovision Song Contest, with all artists performing live in Rotterdam. This protocol demonstrates our commitment to make this happen, with the health and safety of everyone attending, including crew and press, our top priority.– Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor
Sieste Bakker, Executive Producer for the contest, has added that “a lot of hard work has been done” in order for the contest to go ahead this year.
In recent months, a lot of hard work has been done behind the scenes on this extensive Health and Safety protocol, in order to allow us to stage this year’s Eurovision Song cotnest in a responsible manner. With the help of extensive testing, mask wearing, hygiene measures, attention to ventilation and innovative measures, we will create an environment in which crew, artists and the press can work as safely as possible.– Sieste Bakker, Executive Producer
Testing to be a main focus
All the measures that have been outlined have been approved by Rotterdam’s Safety Region and they are fully compliant with the Dutch public health guidelines. One of the main focuses to ensure Eurovision runs as smoothly as possibly will be regular testing.
The EBU has said that anyone attending the contest from abroad should isolate for 5 days before they depart for the Netherlands. They must also return a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours before they fly. Everyone on site will then receive regular tests in a testing facility next to the Ahoy arena.
Anyone who has been potentially exposed to the virus must enter quarantine for a minimum of five days. This includes people who have been alerted of close contact by a government COVID-19 alert app. Also, those who test positive for the virus must isolate in their hotel room or at home, for a minimum period of five days.
Anyone arriving in the Netherlands for the contest from countries outside the EU or the EEA must present an accrediation letter and, in some cases, a visa in order to enter the country. When in the country, all delegations must remain at their hotel for the duration of their stay, unless they are attending the arena for rehearsals, live shows or organised activities.
“Shared responsibilities” between crew and delegations
The detailed protocol also talks about the “shared responsibilities” of everyone attending the contest, for example the hygiene measures that must be in place. Social distancing of 1.5 metres is set to be a requirement at the contest, with delegations being told to avoid large gatherings and physical contact.
With certain exceptions (such as when performing or giving interviews), everyone must wear a N95 or FFP2 face mask when indoors, as well as following other basic cleaning protocols and instructions like using hand sanitiser and washing hands often.
The EBU has stated that it will not be compulsory for those attending the contest to have been vaccinated against COVID-19 but they “hope as many people as possible will be vaccinated prior to the production period”. People who have received the vaccine must still follow all protocols in place at the contest, including regular testing.
Planning for Scenario B
Last month, the EBU confirmed that Scenario A (a “normal” Eurovision) had been ruled out, but plans were still being made for Scenario B. Today, it has been announced that the plan is still to host Eurovision under Scenario B circumstances. This would mean that a limited audience may be permitted – but this depends on the public health situation at the time of the contest.
Delegations would also have to scale back, with only 20 delegates allowed per country compared to the usual 38. The permitted delegates include three delegation officials, three commentators, six on-stage performers and eight extra delegates.
The press centre would be reduced in capacity, from 1550 to 500. However, the size of the press centre would not change. This is in order to facilitate social distancing between press members. Individual working desks would be installed along with larger walkways, adapted interview rooms and a bigger press conference room. Plans are also in place for a virtual press centre to allow more journalists to “attend” from home.
Are you hopeful to see Eurovision run under Scenario B circumstances? Do you think the plans are extensive enough?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.