DISASTER MANAGEMENT

IBC Organisers Sweat Over Dutch Lockdown

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By Jonathan Easton

The organisers of the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) are “assessing the impact” of new COVID-19-related restrictions being implemented by the Dutch government.

Last week, the Netherlands became the first western European country to impose a partial lockdown since the summer as a result of record numbers of COVID-19 infections.

The new restrictions will last at least three weeks, with bars, restaurants and essential shops being forced to close at 8pm. Caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte has also placed further restrictions which will limit home gatherings to four guests and place all amateur and professional sporting events behind closed doors.

As it stands, conferences where the audience is seated are currently allowed to go ahead but trade fairs and exhibitions – which would include IBC – will be cancelled.

Should the government stick to its three week partial lockdown, the restrictions would lift on December 3. IBC is scheduled to be staged from December 3-6.

In response to the new restrictions, IBC posted on Twitter: “IBC is aware of the Covid rule changes announced by the Dutch government on Friday evening and are assessing the impact and engaging with our stakeholders. The safety of our customers remains our top priority.”

Venue organiser RAI Exhibitions has said that no events or trade shows will be cancelled, but there will be a strict 6pm curfew for the end of the show.

While IBC is confident of staging its first conference since 2019, these last minute restrictions could entirely upend the organisers’ plans should they be extended beyond December 3, and leave attendees facing a dilemma of whether or not to alter their plans.

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