It wasn’t one of the great carefree, hedonistic nights of the past, but clubbers in Amsterdam received a brief respite from the lockdown at the weekend as part of an examination of the risks associated with getting people back on the dance floor.
The Ziggo Dome, the largest music stadium in the Dutch capital, opened to 1,300 people for four hours on Saturday. Dutch DJs Sam Feldt, Lady Bee and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano encouraged them to dance to the rhythm of the sets.
Participants were tracked on all their movements and contacts via tag, as part of an effort to examine how events can be safely reopened to the public. They had been divided into five “bubbles” of 250 people, plus one of 50, each of whom had to comply with different rules.
Some were restricted in their movement on the dance floor, while others were asked to wear a mask at all times or only when on the move. One group was given a fluorescent drink and encouraged to sing and shout along to the music to examine how much saliva was released at peak binge times.
Government advisers will use the data they collect on recorded behavior to help make decisions about easing nightlife restrictions in the coming months. One of the observations, organizers said, was that even those who were asked to keep the masks on soon dropped them as they entered the flow of music.
Tim Boersma of Fieldlab, the organization doing the research for the government, said: “We hope this can lead to a custom reopening of venues. The measures are now generic, allowing, for example, a maximum of 100 guests at any event if coronavirus infections drop to a certain level. We expect more specific measures, such as allowing the Ziggo Dome to open to half capacity. “
The Ziggo Dome has a normal capacity of 17,000, but 100,000 tickets were requested for 1,350 € 15 (£ 13). They sold out in 20 minutes.
All attendees must have received a negative test for coronavirus 48 hours before the event. Twelve applicants had received a positive test result prior to the event and were banned from participating. Those who attended were asked to take another exam five days later.
Feldt, 27, who has not performed to a large audience since his US tour was canceled last March, said the event had given him hope. “I see light at the end of the tunnel again,” he said. “We’ve been at this for about a year together and with the vaccines, the testing possibilities, and these kinds of testing events, I think there are a lot of signs that hopefully we’ll see more parties in the summer.”
The concert was part of a series of government-backed research events that also included a 500-person business conference, a performance in front of a similar number of people by cabaret artist Guido Weijers, and a soccer match in which they participated. 1,200 fans. Two open-air festivals are also planned in Biddinghuizen, as well as a pop concert.
Gatherings of more than 100 people were banned in the Netherlands for more than a year. All bars and restaurants in the country are closed from mid-October. For the past six weeks, a nationwide curfew has been established from 9:00 pm to 4:30 am. The event at the Ziggo Dome was held from 3 pm to 7 pm to comply with regulations.
Natasja de Rooij, 29, from Utrecht, who attended with her boyfriend, Stefan, said it was “really nice to get away from it all after sitting at home so much.” “And we are also doing something good,” he said. “Stefan and I were supposed to get married last summer. Maybe it can still be done this summer. “
Bubble 1 People were told to wear a mask all the time. They could decide for themselves where to stand, but they had to make sure there were no more than three people in a square meter of space.
Bubble 2 People wore a mask all the time and were told to keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
Bubble 3 People wore a mouth mask only when on the move and had to stand in designated spots.
Bubble 4 People wore masks all the time. There were seats available.
Bubble 5 People only mask themselves when they are on the move. There were areas for standing and sitting. The organizers placed the participants in their dance place with two chairs that separated the people.
Bubble 6 No masks. People were allowed to stand or sit wherever and whenever they wanted.