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France lifts concert standing restrictions

Indoor concerts and nightclubs in France will no longer have to limit standing at live events to 75% capacity in the wake of a government ruling.

French live music association Prodiss successfully lobbied for the switch, empowered by the results of the test concert it organised earlier in the year with Paris hospital AP-HP under the banner ‘Ambition Live Again’.

The clinical trial, which took place in May at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine, showed that attending a concert is not associated with an increased risk of transmission when certain hygiene and testing protocols are followed.

This is the end of the stigma of standing gauges

“This is the end of the stigma of standing gauges,” tweeted Prodiss, which represents around 400 members including Accor Arena in Paris, the Bataclan in Paris, Live Nation France Festivals, Live Nation SAS and Mama.

The wearing of masks is still recommended at gigs, while the implementation of health passes, providing proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test, to gain entry will be maintained for the time being.

The decision to lift capacity restrictions comes despite rising Covid cases across Europe. Concerts in the Netherlands have just been postponed after the Dutch government imposed a new partial lockdown for at least the next three weeks, while Austria has imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated citizens.

Prodiss recently announced a new cancellation insurance policy exclusively for its members to “support the restart of the activity” in the performing arts sector.

 


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French biz pushes for full capacity shows by Sept

Over 3,000 members of the French live music industry have signed an open letter to the government, asking for “clear and coherent” forecasts on the reopening of the sector after more than four months of shutdown.

In the letter, French industry professionals including concert promoters, venue owners, technicians, service providers, producers, artists, freelance workers and others, ask for a decision from the government regarding a possible date for the resumption of standing shows.

“As we can no longer live in a state of expectation, we ask you for clear and coherent scenarios and deadlines so that we can work to restart our activities.”

The industry representatives say they are committed to restarting shows at 100% capacity from 1 September, but state this date is getting increasingly difficult to envisage due to issues related to programming and the organisation of tours.

The live professionals also state they have “demonstrated our sense of responsibility and our ability to rigorously apply government decisions and regulatory framework”, as well as submitting “concrete proposals” with a view to working with the government to restart business.

“As we can no longer live in a state of expectation, we ask you for clear and coherent scenarios and deadlines so that we can work to restart our activities”

However, unlike other French sectors such as sport and hospitality, the live music business has not received a concrete timetable for reopening.

“Nobody understands the silence concerning us,” say the industry representatives, “starting with the public who question us insistently and who tell us their desire to go back to concerts.”

“We feel abandoned and despised by our public partners.”

The number of signatories of the letter has more than doubled since being sent to French president Emmanual Macron, prime minister Jean Castex and culture minister Roselyne Bachelot on Thursday (23 July), with festivals Hellfest Open Air, Eurockéennes de Belfort, Les Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes and Vieilles Charrues; venues the Bataclan and Zénith Paris; and trade union Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles (SMA) and industry body Prodiss among those to show their support.

Large-scale events (over 5,000 capacity) are currently banned in France until September. Social distancing measures are still in place for all shows, with masks obligatory at indoor venues from 1 August.

The letter is available to read in full here.

Photo: © Rémi Jouan, CC-BY-SAGNU Free Documentation LicenseWikimedia Commons

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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