Eurovision 2021 Rotterdam Ahoy Arena

Eurovision 2021 and COVID-19: Scenario B confirmed

A decision on whether an audience can be present at the shows in Rotterdam will be decided at a later time

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and Dutch Host Broadcasters NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have evaluating a number of situations for holding Eurovision Song Contest 2021 in Rotterdam. They have decided that Eurovision 2021 will be held under the Scenario B basis:


Social distancing

Everyone attending the Eurovision Song Contest at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena would need to practice social distancing.

Strict health and safety measures (including frequent COVID-19 testing) would be in place at the venue. A protocol to protect artists, delegations, and crew on and off site would be adhered to.

If there are any delegations who cannot travel to Rotterdam, their artists will perform “live-on-tape” with a recorded performance being used.

Those who can travel to Rotterdam will perform their songs live on stage.

There would be 9 shows (6 dress rehearsals, 2 Semi-Finals and a Grand Final), either with no audience or a reduced audience to allow for social distancing. The final capacity would be dependent on local government guidelines.

There will be activities in the city of Rotterdam held in a safe and responsible way.

Although Scenario B has been confirmed should circumstances change in the coming weeks the event can still be scaled down.

A decision on whether an audience can be present at the shows ... will be decided at a later time.EBU

To make the event viable , the number of people in each delegation has been massively scaled back from previous editions. The number of journalists who can attend the event will also be capped at 500 with a further 1000 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.

Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, says:

– 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.

Regular testing

In order for Scenario B to be successful, a number of measures have been planned and have been approved by the the Safety Region (Veiligheidsregio Rotterdam-Rijnmond) the official authority reviewing and approving health and safety plans for events; and validated by SGS, an international agency specialising in the review of such plans.

These measures will be adjusted 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 self isolation for at least 5 days before departing to the Netherlands and they must test negative for COVID-19 at most 72 hours before.

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.

Sietse Bakker, the Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 says:

– 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.

Source: EBU

About the author: Steven Spiteri (Malta)

authorSteven has been a huge Eurovision fan since 1995. He comes from a small town called Birkirkara located in Malta and graduated in Business & Administration. Steven follows all the national finals and Eurovision Song Contests every year especially Melodifestivalen and Eesti Laul. He has an endless list of favorites but the all time favorite entry would be Italy's 2016 entry "Nessun grado di separazione" by Francesca Michielin whilst Lisbon 2018 is his favorite Eurovision edition.

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