Ease events licencing process, MPs say as ‘test for entry’ capacity expands

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

MPs are calling on the cabinet to make it easier for companies to organize festivals, fun fairs and cultural activities this summer, now that the coronavirus infection rate is shrinking.

If this continues to be the case, ‘we should give plenty of space to all those people who want to give shape to the summer,’ VVD parliamentarian Pim van Strien told broadcaster RTL Nieuws. ‘I would like the licencing process to be made quicker and easier, so that we can finally enjoy to the maximum all the great things that cultural organisations have to offer us.’

The VVD’s coalition partners D66 and the CDA support the plan, RTL said.

However, local authorities, which are charged with licencing events and festivals, are concerned that they will not be able to cope if too many events are given the green light, and the regional safety boards are also worried, RTL said.

On Friday, the government cleared the way for large outdoor events of up to 25000 people from June 30, on the condition all guests have either been fully vaccinated or have a negative coronavirus test.

Meanwhile, the test infrastructure set up to facilitate events is largely unused at present, the Financieele Dagblad said.

The government estimates the bill for its ‘test for entry’ programme will run to between €500m and €700m by the end of August when it is due to expire. But so far few organisations – such as restaurants, museums and cinemas – have opted to make testing compulsory and so open to more clients and visitors.

But even with few or no clients, the test centres are generating money for their owners, because of the fixed fee system, the paper said. SON, the foundation set up to facilitate ‘tests for entry’ pays €387 per test cubical a day plus €130 per hour for staffing it.

Grand Prix

Event organisers say such capacity will be needed, given the number of big events which will take place in the summer, including the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Zandvoort and KLM Open golf tournament.

The events so far registered with SON have capacity for 1.5 million ticket holders, but given people who have been vaccinated won’t need a test, the total number of test places needed will be far lower, the paper points out.

People born in 1994 are currently being called up to make an appoint for a vaccination, with dates at the end of June and early July.

MPs are due to debate the impact of coronavirus on the cultural sector with minister Ingrid van Engelshoven later on Monday.

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