Reservations, fixed seats: How big-screen European Championship events will work
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Reservations, fixed seats: How big-screen European Championship events will work

Events like this one in Limburg, organised in Belgium's largest fan village 'Festival Da Copa' in 2018, will not be allowed this year. Credit: Festival Da Copa

There will be quite a few rules involved for people who want to go watch the European Championship football matches on a big screen this month, according to a circular from Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden.

Like with previous European and World Championships, many Belgian residents prefer to watch the games in large groups on squares or in parks, but unlike previous editions, there will be a lot of restrictions this year.

The circular, seen by Het Nieuwsblad, lays down the rules for anyone who wants to organise such a big-screen event for the Championship matches, and stresses that watch parties should take place outdoors as much as possible.

Additionally, they should be organised in a closed location, and organisers are asked to work with a reservation system.

The intention is also to set up the screens in such a way that “people cannot see them from outside the location,” to avoid large groups of people congregating around the event.

Additionally, the sound of the broadcast cannot exceed 80 decibels.

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For outdoor events, the maximum capacity is 400 spectators, if the event is organised indoors – against official advice – the maximum capacity is 200.

Standing up is only allowed if there are no “hospitality possibilities,” meaning that if ordering drinks is an option, everyone has to sit down during the match, in groups of a maximum of four, with a 1.5-metre distance between tables, and people will be served at the table – following the same rules as the terraces of bars or restaurants.

If no drinks are available, which means people can stand up while watching, this still has to be done in groups of a maximum of four, keeping the necessary social distance from each other.

The sector protocols for the hospitality industry always apply, according to the circular, meaning that from 9 June (if the Consultative Committee gives the official green light on Friday), events can happen until 10:00 PM when indoors, and until 11:30 PM when outdoors.

However, these are the guidelines until the end of June, according to the circular.

The next step of Belgium’s “summer plan” should go into force from 1 July, allowing up to 2,500 people to gather outside – just in time for the Championship’s quarterfinals, semi-finals and the grand final, which will all be played in early July.