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Photo Credit: EDM Maniac

Whilst adhering to strict conditions, it is possible to allow active outdoor events to continue with 50-75% of the normal visitor capacity. Fieldlab Events has made this recommendation to the Dutch Cabinet on the basis of the first practical tests of this type of event. The Cabinet is now asking the Dutch Outbreak Management Team, for its guidance on the research results.

Recommendations

Studies conducted at three football matches have demonstrated that, in the current Corona situation, larger outdoor events are possible under the following strict conditions:

• Rapid testing at a decentralised location, close to home
• Rapid testing within a maximum of 24 hours before the end of the event
• Use of an app or other type of access control of a negative Corona test
• Up to 50-75% occupancy of the capacity for outdoor locations, without the 1.5-metre rule.

Specifically for football stadiums:

o Capacity of Business Seats in the stadium at 50-75%, as well as regular grandstand sections. Indoor section (Business Club) at 20% occupancy
o Due to the natural separation, so-called skyboxes can be used at 50-75% of the occupancy (just like regular grandstands)
• Physical separation of groups of visitors, depending on the capacity and design of the location
• Masks (covering mouth and nose) are mandatory when walking around the location at 50% occupancy
• At 75% occupancy, a mask is also mandatory when seated
• Active communication of all practical, relevant information and continuous compliance with the measures.

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Research

These recommendations are the results of research carried out at the first practical tests of outdoor Fieldlab Events: the football matches of N.E.C. Nijmegen vs. De Graafschap, Almere City FC vs. Cambuur Leeuwarden (with 1,500 spectators) and the international Netherlands vs. Latvia (with 5,000 spectators). Research conducted at these matches looked at visitor dynamics when using different types of measures, such as whether to wear masks or not, freedom of movement or catering during the game, fixed seating or free seating, etc.

Fieldlab Events

Fieldlab Events’ aim is to thoroughly investigate the conditions under which events can be organised again during the Corona pandemic. During various test events, visitors are analysed under different types of (behavioural) measures. The main question here is: How do we reduce the residual risk that arises from events? For this purpose, a model has been developed to analyse risks. This model is based on factors related to contact between people (frequency, duration and distance). The initial focus was on the impact of the building blocks on the risk of being infected with Corona (per hour) and being admitted to hospital, compared to the situation of people at home. The core of the research team consists of members of the Fieldlab Events programme team, staff from Radboudumc, LCB/BUAS and TU Delft, with support from companies such as Bureau Franken, DCM, bureau Brandeis and researchers from TNO and UTwente and TU Eindhoven.

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Photo Credit: Back To Live

Recommendations

1. Behaviour
At 50% occupancy (checkerboard configuration), masks are mandatory when people are moving around, pending the results of the TNO and UTwente’s ongoing studies on aerosol dispersion. With more than 50% occupancy, a mask must also be worn while seated.

2. Triage
Mandatory COVID-19 test prior to the event. In case of high prevalence, adhere to the current OMT recommendation of rapid testing up to 24 hours before the end of the event.

3. Triage
In the customer journey, the triage questions at about four hours before the event work as a reminder to make an informed choice whether or not to travel. This must be part of the communication with the visitor.

4. Triage
Triage questions at the event itself and temperature readings do not detect infected persons. Rather, they have a counterproductive effect, by causing congestion in the influx of visitors and thus generating additional contact moments. Allow these measures to lapse.

5. Tracking
Due to legal restrictions (privacy) on the exchange of detailed personal data, to support very detailed BCO (source and contact research) in the event of possible contamination, it is recommended to assume the separation options that locations naturally offer in order to be able to sub-divide into smaller groups within the proposed maximum capacity.

6. Tracking
By making it clear to the visitor which subcategory he or she falls into, the BCO can be limited to that subcategory in the event of an infection and not all visitors need to be contacted.

7. Tracing
Routinely urge visitors to download the Corona detector app, to simplify BCO, immediately after purchasing an admission ticket.

8. Tracing
Establish protocol with Municipal Health Authorities (GGD) concerned: discuss a protocol that includes: Asking about visits to events, including which subcategory one belonged to as a visitor. Check for CT values in relation to old infections. Understanding between events organiser and GGD to email visitors to facilitate BCO. Events organisers must have the means at their disposal to be able to easily contact visitors at the request of the GGD for BCO.

9. Visitor dynamics
The occupancy rate at 50% to 75% of the maximum capacity, whereby the location has the discretion to opt for a standard checkerboard layout with either one or two seats free because there is little distinction in this or the UEFA protocol. Stewards to escort visitors to their seats is important, making the influx smooth and people occupying their places as quickly as possible.

10. Visitor dynamics
In the high prevalence phase, we discourage the creation of areas where people linger for a long time before the game, but to make sure they move quickly towards the grandstand. By keeping catering open continuously, a good distribution of visitors can be ensured. In view of the fact that a subsequent visit to catering or a catering company’s delivery to the stands hardly makes any difference in the number of risky contact moments, we recommend that this choice be left to the organiser’s discretion.

11. Visitor dynamics
In the high prevalence phase, we recommend that one of the following three measures be applied in the indoor areas, including the Business Club in football stadiums:

• 20% occupancy
• Use as a catering point, not as a lounge
• Special seating-only layout.

12. Personal protection
Make disinfectants available at the entrance of the event and at various locations in the building. Due to the flow and chance of increasing contact moments, do not make it mandatory at, for example, the entrance of the building.

13. Vulnerable Groups
Given that it is not yet 100% certain whether a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus, a test is also a requirement for vaccinated persons.

14. Vulnerable Groups
As long as a person from a high-risk group is not vaccinated, he/she is excluded from attending events with high prevalence.

15. Rapid testing
Rapid testing to be organised in a decentralised manner. Test visitor as close to home as possible. As a result, no unnecessary travel movement is made in case of possible contamination. In this way, the capacity can also be deployed in a more even spread and this does not affect the logistics or visitor flows at the location of the event.

16. Rapid testing
On location or in the immediate vicinity a rapid test capacity, so that in extreme cases there is an opportunity to test someone who has to enter the event unexpectedly.

17. Risk model
Based on the risk model, events are possible, also without the 1.5-metre restriction. Use the measures from the building blocks that are included in the risk model for the organisation of events. Pre-testing, outdoor air and intelligent design of the event based on the location provide a sufficiently safe environment.

Fieldlab Events’ main objective is to organise safe and responsible events again in Corona time. It is a joint initiative from the events sector, united in the Event Platform and the Alliance of Events Builders and the Government. The programme is supported by the Dutch Ministries of Health, Welfare and Sport, of Education, Culture and Science, of Economic Affairs and Climate and of Justice and Security (VWS, OCW, EZK and J&Z).