Across the globe, countries have been releasing Covid-19 studies to better understand how to tackle the virus. Germany was the first to conduct a crowded concert study called Restart-19. The study was organized by the University Medical Center in Halle (Saale), SC DHfK Leipzig and the operating company of the QUARTERBACK Immobilien arena. The objective: to determine how the virus transmits in large settings and how organizers can minimize the risk.
On August 22, Tim Bendzko performed three concerts at the Quarterback Immobilien Arena for 1500 volunteers. Initially organizers hoped for 4000 attendees, which would have provided more data. Participants tested for Covid-19 48 hours prior to the show and had to test negative. Travel to the venue was also part of the study, and designated trams were provided to simulate this. Upon entry temperatures were taken.
Face masks and a Contact Tracer were worn, and participants were given hand sanitizer. The tracker was a small box used to monitor the number of people an individual came in contact with and the duration. It could also be specific to time and location such as entry points, restrooms, foyer etc. The hand sanitizer had fluorescent dye in it, which left traces on different surfaces. Scientists were able to identify the highest contact zones by using UV light. Participants were encouraged to use the sanitizer regularly.
There were three different situations observed. First was standard pre-covid with people packed together and no additional health parameters. The second had social distancing and additional entrance and exit points to reduce a large flow of traffic. The third had a 50% attendee reduction with social distancing, but is not financially stable.
The data is expected to be released this month in the hopes that it will identify the possible conditions under which artists and athletes can perform and play again after the 30th. Other countries like Australia, Belgium, and Denmark have taken note of this study and are planning to do their own. This can only benefit the scientific community and the culture of live entertainment. Maybe 2020 will have a positive outcome after all.
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