The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) together with Dutch broadcasters and Contest organisers NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have published extensive COVID-19 Health and Safety protocol for the Eurovision Song Contest, as revealed in a press release shared today.
The thorough protocol details the measures all accredited individuals (those working on or competing in the Eurovision Song Contest) will have to comply with to attend the Contest in Rotterdam. It’s also fully compliant with the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment guidelines and matches those for similar large events such as major sports competitions.
Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest’s Executive Supervisor, explains:
“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.”
The measures have been approved by the Safety Region (Veiligheidsregio Rotterdam-Rijnmond) as the official local authority reviewing and approving health and safety plans for events; and validated by SGS, an international agency specialising in the review of such plans.
The protocol can be adjusted at any time should new developments demand and begins before artists and delegations even arrive in the host city.
All those attending the Eurovision Song Contest from abroad are recommended to go into quarantine for 5 days before departure to the Netherlands and they must test negative for COVID-19 at most 72 hours before they fly.
Once in the Netherlands, delegations have to stay in their hotel, except when they travel to Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena for rehearsals, the live shows and other programme related activities.
Everyone working in the Ahoy Arena, including crew, artists and press, will be tested regularly in a special facility next to the arena.
The testing strategy is being developed based on the guidelines of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in the Netherlands.
Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of the 2021 show, adds:
“Our goal is clear: to prevent transmission of the virus during the event. If someone tests positive, our isolation protocol comes into effect, we support the relevant authorities with track and trace research and we take additional measures where necessary. If a participant is unable to perform live as a result, the backup recording will be used.”
Scenario B 'reaffirmed'
In February it was announced that a "normal" Eurovision Song Contest could not take place under the current circumstances and that organisers were “determined yet optimistic” that the 65th edition of the world’s largest live music event could take place under ‘Scenario B’ - a scaled down but ambitious version of the Contest with strict health and safety measures and social distancing.
The decision was recently reaffirmed by the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the event’s governing body, and the EBU’s Executive Board.
Should circumstances change in the coming weeks the event can still be scaled down further.
Under Scenario B the number of people in each delegation has been reduced from previous editions, and the number of journalists who can attend the event will also be capped at 500 with a further 1,000 able to cover the show in a new online press centre.
A decision on whether an audience can be present at the shows and on what public activities can take place around the event in Rotterdam will be decided at a later time.
More details on the contingency planning for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 can be found here.