Tuesday 21 September 2021

Event organisers worried about stricter testing regime for festivals

Major events are cancelled until further notice. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Events organisers are worried more festivals will have to be cancelled following an informal meeting with ministry officials and medical experts who said stricter entry requirements may have to be imposed when mass events are allowed again.

It has become clear in recent weeks that people who have been fully vaccinated are capable of transmitting coronavirus, making mass events too risky to go ahead without additional testing, experts in the government’s Outbreak Management Team say.

The infection rate had soared sevenfold, particularly among the young, prompting the government to halt festivals just 10 days after the rules were relaxed.

Access to events had been based either on full vaccination or a negative test result valid for 24 hours. However, because the Delta variant is extremely contagious, OMT experts now say everyone will have to test negative without exception.

That also means visitors to festivals that are spread over more than one day would have to be tested every 24 hours.

Rosanne Janmaat, spokeswoman for events organiser ID&T, told current affairs programme Nieuwsuur it would be very difficult to put such a testing scheme into action.

Campsite

‘It would mean that the 25,000 people who are staying at the campsite for Mysteryland, one of our biggest events, will have to be tested every day. That is a very big logistical challenge,’ she said.

The organisation responsible for the ‘test for entry’ system Testen voor Toegang is currently investigating how mobile testing centres can be set up to carry out the tests.

The cabinet has said it will announce more measures on August 13 but organisers have said they want to know where they are this week. ‘If you are organising an event on the 14th and at 7pm the previous day you’re told about new restrictions you will face an impossible task,’ Janmaat said.

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