Monday 4/12/21
PANDEMIC

Eurovision Song Contest 2021 likely to take place behind closed doors

Last year, the European Broadcasting Union cancelled the event for the first time in the history of the contest due to the virus outbreak.
Donatan & Cleo representing Poland perform during the grand final of the 59th Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Copenhagen, Denmark, 10 May 2014. Photo: Joerg Carstensen/dpa Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa.
Donatan & Cleo representing Poland perform during the final of the 59th Eurovision Contest in 2014. Photo: Joerg Carstensen/dpa/file photo.

The Eurovision Song Contest is expected to take place in Rotterdam this May under strict restrictions to contain the pandemic and likely without an audience, the Dutch organizers said on Wednesday.

A final decision is to be made in mid-April about whether or not viewers can attend the event in Hilversum.

The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and viewers who had bought tickets were allowed to return them.

The organizers ruled out the event taking place under normal conditions, with a large audience in attendance.

This year's semifinals are scheduled to take place in Rotterdam on May 18 and 20, with the final due to be held on May 22.

The organizers said they had prepared three variations on how the event could be held, allowing all the performers to gather in Rotterdam with social distancing measures in place.

'A ray of light'

Producer Sietse Bakker said the organizers would do all they could to create the best festival possible, prioritizing attendees' safety.

Rotterdam city councillor Said Kasmi said the contest was a "ray of light that we can look forward to together."

He said as the host city, "we are optimistic, excited and realistic at the same time."

Rotterdam's slogan is "Let's open up again!"

Last year, the organizer, the European Broadcasting Union cancelled the event for the first time in the history of the contest due to the virus outbreak.

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