As the pandemic rages on, many music venues remain closed making for a bleak outlook for the music industry. Now some good news comes out of Germany. Researchers in the country found that there is a low spread in venues if safety precautions are followed.
Researchers based their findings on a test event with 1200 attendees present. The study was conducted in a well ventilated space. Participants were ordered to wear masks and stay a good distance apart from each other in their seats.
The study was conducted in Leipzeg. Volunteers were tested for the virus prior to the study and given temperature checks at the door. Each participant was given a hand disinfectant laced with florescent dye and a digital location tracker.
Various social distancing scenarios were simulated during the 10 hour study. Attendees visited the bathrooms and simulated buying food and drink from the venue.
Participants were not distanced in one scenario, partially distanced in a second scenario and strictly distanced in a third.
Results showed that the chances of getting the coronavirus at such an event were ‘low to very low’.
“There is no argument for not having such a concert,” said Dr. Michael Gekle, part of the team at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg who conducted the study. “The risk of getting infected is very low.”
The study was posted online and announced at a news conference on Thursday but has not yet been peer reviewed.
The test event was the first of its kind to closely examine how the virus might be transmitted at concert venues. The global entertainment industry has been paying careful attention to the results in the hopes that this might be a positive step towards reopening venues.
However, the results of the study are being met with skepticism as experts are saying more research is needed before anything conclusive can be arrived at. Dr. Gabriel Scally, president of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine said the findings were ‘useful’ but it may be difficult to replicate the situations that might take place at real life events.
Event organizers are accepting the news with cautious optimism. Emily Eavis, co-organizer of the Glastonbury Festival says, “Obviously if masks are going to work for larger gigs then that’s big progress. We are hoping for more news by the end of the year.”
Researchers in other countries will also be conducting research in the hopes that nightlife might soon return to normal.
Marta Pallares, a spokeswoman for Primavera Sound, an annual festival in Spain released the following statement. “We are monitoring closely and with huge interest all the similar initiatives in Europe”.
Primavera Sound organizers are conducting a study to test whether rapid coronavirus testing will be an effective screening measure for live music events.
It is hopeful that all these tests and studies lead to the much-needed return of live music and the reopening of the music industry.