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Netherlands to drop all restrictions on live events

After tireless lobbying from the Netherlands’ live music sector, the Dutch government has finally announced plans to lift all remaining restrictions on live events.

The final restriction to be lifted is pre-admission testing (1G) for indoor locations accommodating more than 500 people where there is no assigned seating (eg nightclubs and festivals).

From Wednesday 23 March, this rule will not apply and there will no longer be a requirement to show a coronavirus entry pass to gain access to any events or venues.

“In recent weeks, coronavirus infection rates have once again increased,” the government said of its decision. “However, the current variant is making people less ill and the number of people being admitted to intensive care is limited”.

“The current variant is making people less ill and the number of people being admitted to intensive care is limited”

Since 25 February, large nightclubs, festivals and events have been permitted to open without limitations. In addition, social distancing, assigned seating, masks and capacity limits were scrapped.

The Netherlands follows in the footsteps of England, France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria and Switzerland in lifting all remaining measures on live music events.

In Germany, most Covid curbs will be axed from Freedom Day – 20 March – although “low-threshold basic protective measures,” such as mask-wearing, will still apply. Italy’s live music sector is still waiting for the green light to restart.

 


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Dutch live sector to reopen by end of February

The Dutch government has announced a three-step plan for reopening which will see nearly all restrictions dropped by the end of February.

On 18 February, when step 2 is initiated, the current curfew of 10 pm for venues and events will be pushed back to 1 am.

It will continue to be mandatory to show the coronavirus entry pass verifying proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative Covid test (3G) to enter music venues and other cultural places.

At venues accomodating less than 500 people, assigned seating, social distancing and the requirement to wear a face mask will no longer apply. At venues with more than 500 people, these rules will be in force.

In addition, the recommended period of self-isolation after a positive test result will be shortened to five days.

On 25 February, large nightclubs, festivals and events can open up without limitations

On 25 February, when the third and final step is initiated, opening times will return to normal and large nightclubs, festivals and events can open up without limitations.

Nearly all restrictions regarding 3G, social distancing, assigned seating, masks and capacity limits will be scrapped.

However, at indoor locations accommodating more than 500 people where there is no assigned seating (eg nightclubs and festivals) all attendees must show a negative test result (1G). This does not apply at events where there is a continuous flow of visitors, such as trade fairs and conferences.

On 15 March the government will evaluate the remaining rules including the face mask requirement for public transport, the pre-admission testing requirement (1G) and the advice on working from home.

Since 26 January, booked events have been permitted to resume with a maximum of 1,250 visitors indoors and a maximum of one-third of the capacity in outdoor spaces, using the 3G model.

Venues and events have been subject to a 22:00 curfew. Nightclubs have remained closed and festivals and unplaced events have been prohibited.

The Dutch government’s plan to roll back restrictions follows a number of protests organised by the live sector, including De Nacht Staat Op (The Night Rises) and Unmute Us.

 


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Finland to roll back restrictions from mid-Feb

The Finnish government has announced plans to roll back its Covid-19 restrictions from this month.

According to the cabinet, the number of Covid-19 infections nationwide remains high, but the number of cases requiring intensive care has “decreased considerably”.

Most importantly for the live music sector, the government has recommended that capacity restrictions within the cultural, sports and event sectors be lifted as of 14 February.

From that day, any businesses that primarily serve alcohol will be allowed to serve until 22:00, and remain open until 23:00.

All restrictions on food and beverage service businesses could be lifted completely as of 1 March.

“We believe that we do not currently have the legal prerequisites in place to introduce a Covid pass”

Following the recommendations of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Ministry of Justice, Finland will no longer use Covid passes, at least for the time being. Event organisers and certain establishments were allowed to ignore Covid restrictions if they demanded customers present their Covid passes.

While the passes could be reintroduced in the future in case of changing circumstances such as new variants, it would require some amendments to the law.

“We believe that we do not currently have the legal prerequisites in place to introduce a Covid pass,” said Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin. “The THL feels that there is no longer an epidemiological basis for it; that is, we cannot use the pass to bypass restrictions at this point. It would mean restricting the fundamental rights of a citizen. We cannot do that if it’s not absolutely necessary.”

Today’s news will come as a welcome relief for Finland’s live sector which, according to Pearle’s 2022 Map of Europe, is currently subject to the strictest restrictions in Europe.

 


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