EUROPEAN UNION – The European Commission has published a set of guidelines on how member states should start to emerge from lockdown, indicating that mass gatherings such as festivals and concerts may be the last kind of social activity to restart. In the document, entitled ‘Joint European Roadmap towards lifting COVID-19 containment measures’, the commission suggests a “progressive” reinstatement of gatherings of people.
The sequencing proposed in the document, starting with the reopening of educational institutes, followed by retail activity, the return of restaurants, cafes and bars and then of mass gatherings, is in accordance with exit plans laid out by governments in Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Belgium and Luxembourg, where large events will recommence after the reopening of some other parts of society.
The commission stresses the need for a gradual lifting of measures, saying that sufficient time should be left between each step, offering one month as an example period. The document also outlines a “phased approach” for the opening of both internal and external borders, with restrictions on travel between areas with “comparably low reported circulation of the virus” easing first, leading to the eventual restoration of “the normal functioning of the Schengen area”.
“Successfully coordinating the lifting of containment measures at EU level will also positively impact the EU’s recovery. The gradual reopening of borders should give priority to cross-border and seasonal workers and should avoid any discrimination against EU mobile workers,” reads the report. “In the transition phase, the efforts to maintain an unobstructed flow of goods and to secure supply chains should be reinforced.”
Access of non-EU residents to the EU will be granted in a “second stage”, taking into account the spread of the virus. The EU Commission states its intention to ensure more coordination between its member states. Members of the live industry, including Dutch agency collective United Independent Music Agencies, have criticised the lack of collaboration at EU level.
“In order to streamline coordination efforts, the Commission will be ready to develop further guidance, when necessary or requested, in order to ensure a gradual transition from general confinement,” the report concludes. “The more such transition is coordinated at EU level, the more negative spill-overs between Member States will be avoided and the implementation of measures across different Member States will be mutually reinforcing. Successfully coordinating the lifting of containment measures at EU level will also positively impact the EU’s recovery.”
So, the 1 million Euros question is whether Eurovision 2021 is in danger as well…