The Dutch events sector has teamed up with researchers to make large gatherings safe despite the coronavirus. Co-organized by the Dutch government and the country's events sector the aim is to see how concerts, theater performances, sports events and conferences can be made safe during the pandemic, said program manager Pieter Lubberts. Already  63,000 people have signed up to attend two festivals next month, as part of experiments to assess how and if the coronavirus restrictions can be eased at big public events.

The dates for the festivals were published on a Sunday evening and by 7 pm, 63,000 people had registered to take part, organiser Pieter Lubbers shared.

The two events are being held at the Biddinghuizen location where the massive Lowlands festival takes place on March 13 and 14. In total, 1,500 people can take part and difficult choices will now have to be made. 

Lubbers’ company FieldLab entertainment already organised the first mass event since the second lockdown – a conference for several hundred people who work in the events industry at the Beatrix Theater in Utrecht. The conference, and the festivals, are being organised together with the government to try to find out if large events can be held safely despite coronavirus. Visitors had to have a negative coronavirus test to take part and to disinfect their hands on arrival. Their temperatures were also taken and they were fitted with movement sensors, but they were not restricted from close contact with others. They were, however, divided into separate groups with their own entrance and toilet facilities. Some had to wear a mask, others to sit behind a screen. In five days time, all will undergo a second coronavirus test.

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