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Next week, a test took place at the Antwerp Zoo convention center  Antwerp

Next week, a test took place at the Antwerp Zoo convention center Antwerp

AntwerpAt the Flanders Meeting and Antwerp Convention Center (FMCCA) at the Antwerp Zoo, a test event – in the form of a conference with two hundred participants – will be organized on Tuesday. This was announced by Tourism Minister Saturn Demir and Tourism Flanders on Saturday. Singer Ozark Henry will revive the party musically.

On Friday, the advisory panel agreed on a framework for organizing testing events in the coming weeks and months. These should create the conditions in which to organize broader events this coming summer.

Last month, real concerts were actually held in the Netherlands as a test. But things are not going that fast for us at the moment. On Tuesday, a “pilot conference” will be organized at the Flanders Meeting and Antwerp Convention Center (FMCCA) at the Antwerp Zoo, which also houses the Queen Elizabeth Hall – although singer Ozark Henry will offer music breaks. Participants are administered a rapid test at the entrance and then have to isolate for a period of time. They will also be tested after the event.

The moment of communication

In concrete terms, two hundred players from the tourism and events sector will be presented with results of event tests in the Netherlands by Martin Schramm, a researcher at Fieldlab Events. CERM 2021 (Covid Event Risk Model) and CIRM 2021 (Covid Infrastructure Risk Model), two checklists that since last summer have provided regulators with the opportunity to safely organize their event – even when the virus among us is still on display in a rolling form. Participants will then have a moment to connect.

During the conference, scholars from the University of Antwerp, imec research center and Karel de Grote Hogeschool (KdG) will investigate various methods of counting attendees. This can be done, for example, via cameras and WiFi, but also manually. Road accuracy will be studied.

“Due to the Corona crisis, the ability to accurately measure crowds is more important than ever for the juvenile sector. Consequently, getting a clear view of the number of visitors present at each event site is the basis of Coronavirus Crowd Management,” stresses Christine Mercks, President KdG Public Impact Experience Center.

‘Smart minds’

Flemish Tourism Minister Zohal Demir (N-VA) was satisfied that shortly after the advisory committee gave the green light to testing events, one of them is already being organized. “From Flanders, we have been calling for a clearly defined framework for test events for some time,” says Demir. “Our duty has been done for a while. Research and science have helped us develop tests and vaccines. Now that the framework surrounding test events is ready, we will be able to use all those bright minds to help us make the large-scale event industry do what it does better again: “Organizing events in a safe manner. We hope this series of scientific events will be the key to a safe summer event.”