Coronavirus: Belgian venues begin to cancel concerts

Coronavirus: Belgian venues begin to cancel concerts
The inside of the Forest National Arena Brussels. Credit: Keith Laverack/Flickr

For the next two weeks, there will be no concerts with more than a thousand spectators in the Sportpaleis, the Lotto Arena and Forest National, the Sportpaleis Group explained.

"Those are almost all concerts," explained Jan Van Esbroeck, CEO of the Sportpaleis Group to Studio Brussel.

This follows a decision of the Regional Security Council of Brussels, which brings together the mayors of Brussels’ 19 municipalities, to cancel all indoor events with more than 1,000 people, following the Belgian government’s recommendation announced on Tuesday.

Concerts in Brussels attended by more than 1,000 people will be banned from Wednesday 11 March to contain the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

“The objective is to level the number of infections with these measures,” said Brussels’ Minister-President Minister Rudi Vervoort at a press conference. “In this way, we enable hospitals and front-line services to cope with the shock of the epidemic,” he added.

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According to De Morgen, a similar ban was imposed by Antwerp Governor Cathy Berx on indoor events with more than a thousand visitors. While there are possible exceptions provided strict measures are taken, Van Esbroeck says they are "simply not possible for us". "In halls such as the Sports Palace, it is not possible to be 1 meter apart," he added.

Ancienne Belgique

Brussels central concert venue Ancienne Belgique (AB) has also announced the measures it will be taking in the face of the news.

According to a published statement, concerts in AB CLUB, AB BOX, AB THEATRE, AB SALON will take place as planned, because the capacity is below 1000 people.

However, those attending concerts planned in the AB MAIN HALL, AB BALLROOM, AB FLEX, will receive an email explaining if the concert will be postponed or cancelled and other practical information.

Additionally, the venue has announced that it is "looking for creative solutions," such as dividing concerts over two events in order to reduce the capacity. More information will be available on the website.

TicketSwap, the company enabling people to sell their previously purchased tickets to others, told The Brussels Times on Tuesday evening that it was waiting to see how the different venues would react to the news before taking any measures themselves.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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