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Belgium test events deemed a success

Results from Belgium’s first-ever cultural test events, which took place at the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) and concluded in early May, have been deemed a success.

The two-week test series took place in KVS’s 500-capacity room with 50–250 attendees and examined how the air quality in the room was impacted by the presence of an audience.

The results, which have been published this week, show that the air quality in a half-filled theatre remains unchanged and therefore all spectators can safely attend a performance.

According to the calculations of KVS and its partners, the air quality in a fully occupied hall would not be affected either and therefore there is ‘no objective reason for capacity restrictions at seated events in well-ventilated rooms’.

Now, Belgium’s live sector is asking for a re-evaluation of the proposed reopening on 9 June so that seated events are permitted to take place at full capacity.

“This outcome is a boost for the entire cultural sector”

Artistic director, Michael De Cock, says: “KVS can look back on the test week with satisfaction. Not only was it particularly moving to be able to be in a theatre again – the reactions from the audience were overwhelming – the results that KVS can present today are also encouraging and strengthen our belief that culture can be organised safely. More culture creates more humanity. Something that our society needs today more than ever. ”

Business director, Merlijn Erbuer, says: “This outcome is a boost for the entire cultural sector: what applies at KVS applies in every theatre with an equivalent ventilation system. The KVS is therefore asking for a reevaluation of the proposed reopening, so that from 9 June full houses are admitted for performing arts with a passive, seated audience.

“Test events, however, we have to get rid of as soon as possible, because they are prohibitively expensive and annoying for our audience. You also don’t get tested before getting on the tram or walking into a shopping street.”

Similar live music experiments have also taken place in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the UK. See an extensive list here.


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