Coronavirus: Eurovision organisers explore alternatives for this year’s contest
Saturday, 07 March 2020
The Dutch organisers of this year’s Eurovision Song Festival in May are currently exploring possible alternatives to the planned show in the Ahoy arena in Rotterdam, in the event the festival has to be moved because of the coronavirus.
“The coronavirus has been detected in the Netherlands. As an international event accommodation, we are of course closely following the developments of the coronavirus,” says Ahoy on its website.
“We are in contact with the responsible authorities and follow the guidelines of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and the Association for Public Health and Safety (GGD).”
This year’s event is organised by NPO, the Dutch public broadcaster. They are reported to be cooperating with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) which stages the event every year.
“It is at this moment too soon to go into the different scenarios, given that these are dependent on developments in the coming period,” a spokesperson for NPO said.
“Our focus is still on producing an unforgettable Eurovision Song Festival.”
The event is scheduled to go ahead over three days: semi-finals on 12 and 14 May, and the finals on 16 May.
Some 65,000 people are expected to attend over the three days, two-thirds members of the public and the rest members of national delegations, officials and sponsors. Another 200 million people watch the final on TV.
The city of Rotterdam kept back 8,500 tickets for low-income residents of the port city.
For the time being, all involved are determined the event should go ahead as planned.
“For us, the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors, organizers, suppliers and employees are paramount,” Ahoy said. “At this point the authorities see no reason for rescheduling events.”
Belgium is represented this year in the first semi-final by Hooverphonic with the song “Release Me”.