Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has said that he wants any decision to cancel the Eurovision Song Contest to be made by April 5 or 6 — the date that organisers plan to start building the Eurovision 2020 stage inside the Rotterdam Ahoy.

Aboutaleb was speaking to regional news station RTV Rijnmond, shortly after the Dutch government announced a series of new restrictions meant to curb the spread of coronavirus on Thursday. He also confirmed that staging Eurovision without an audience remains an option.

The Netherlands: Coronavirus Restrictions

The Netherlands has imposed a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people as it works to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced this and a series of other restrictions during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. Colleges and universities have been told to offer lectures online as much as possible. Concerts have been cancelled. And all football matches — from the amateur ranks to the Premier League — have been called off for the rest of the month. By the end of Thursday two of the country’s national treasures — The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum — shut their doors. The Anne Franke House will also close to visitors to comply with the rules.

The restrictions will remain in place until March 31. Naturally this has raised questions about whether Eurovision 2020 will take place. The fact that the restrictions have an end date suggests the government will pause to assess what is a very unpredictable situation.

What’s clear, though, is that on Thursday the number of new coronavirus infections in the Netherlands rose by 22% from a day earlier, bringing the total to 614. The Prime Minister justified the restrictions in the name of public health. He told journalists: “An important goal of the phased approach is to prevent such a peak in infections that would result in the hospitals being overwhelmed.”

Will Eurovision 2020 take place despite coronavirus?

It’s an open question whether Eurovision will take place. For now, major events set for the Netherlands this May — including Eurovision, the Invictus Games and the Dutch Grand Prix — remain on the calendar.

But Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb made it clear that “it’s still too early” to make a decision regarding Eurovision.

“The government’s measures are in place at least until end of March. This means that between the end of March and May 16, we still have seven weeks.”

“For me the final day [to make a decision] is the moment we start to build up the stage. At that moment you have to clarify: will it take place or not? We have two options. The EBU and Avrotros can decide about organising or not. If their decision contradicts the medical advice I get, and in my opinion we have to cancel, I have to take my responsibility. But it’s too early for that now.”

When asked about whether Eurovision could take place but without an audience, he said that is an option. He added that that is not his decision to take. That decision falls with Said Kasmi, the city councillor who oversees tourism.

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[…] Thursday the Netherlands introduced strict measures to slow the spread of Covid-19. These included a ban on events over 100 people. They then extended these restrictions amid a […]

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

Well, I am still positive that dates can be moved to July or August IF EBU prioritizes to do so. I don’t know how it will work, but a postponement order from EBU, NPO-NOS-AVROTROS and the city of Rotterdam itself could hold enough power to move other events on the new dates and the months before. As for the virus itself, yes, it does spread faster and can be critical once it’s inside a prone body. But with the current death portion of 3.76% and a ‘recovery’ percentage of 49.67% (this is just a crude statistics according to the live… Read more »

Anna
Guest
Anna

Its incredible no one seems to understand that the seriousnes has nothing to do with the actual death rate but the spreading speed of the virus which will make it impossible to hospitalise all the critical ill persons. And then we see very high death rates as in Italy wheras South Corea and Japan are doing so well. Please stop this disinformation.

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

My opinion taken for a crude fact and alleged for disinformation I’m crying

Again, I understand we are really worried about the spreading speed of the virus. I am also worried with the announcement of it being a pandemic for its infection rate. But again, I still feel we got really panicked as of now. I’d rather still see how situations would have changed starting from the beginning of April.

Mr X
Guest
Mr X

Never with the same artists ! It could be an internal winner of the contestants.

Merlaie
Guest
Merlaie

I think it will be cancelled, or moved to next year’s edition. The Netherlands should have the chance to host the Eurovision. It is a loss of money and a waste of talent to let that pass. So for me my best solution will be Rotterdam 2021 with same artists.

Denis
Guest
Denis

You honesty think people would care to watch a contest where all of the songs are older than a year and forgotten in their own countries? Or that countries would skip selection season?

Carina
Guest
Carina

Why wouldn’t they? For most viewers those songs are new.

Glorious Mustache
Guest
Glorious Mustache

Eurovision without an audience seems like an unlikely idea. Its gonna lose all of its magic. But performing with an audience seems also unlikely. The only solution to me is moving it back to a later date. Maybe July or August.

Enrique
Guest
Enrique

I think doing it without audience is the best idea, it’s a TV program in the end…

Dawid
Guest
Dawid

My birthday :s I’d like to get some cool present. Come on mr mayor

Björn
Guest
Björn

Judging from the current situation in Europe, I think it is nearly impossible to hold Eurovision as planned. German virologists say that the peak is yet to be reached. Postponing it to a later date – then with an audience – would be extremely difficult to sort out with Ahoy. Cancelling it is no option I think. I believe they will do it without an audience in Ahoy. But I’m quite disappointed by the communication of the EBU and the Eurovision team. Speaking of a spectacular opening ceremony seems a bit off these days… I feel like they should make… Read more »

Nicolas
Guest
Nicolas

I even think EBU will go with the last resort plan. Everyone broadcasting from their own country and TV studio.

Sal
Guest
Sal

I think postponing the contest until later in the year is the LEAST likely scenario so let’s forget about that. Either it will just be cancelled for this year (maybe the EBU will allow broadcasters to still send the same songs and artists in 2021) or it will happen without an audience but since some countries are already not participating in the postcard shootings, maybe there will be some refusals to attend and some withdrawals.

LinusESCfan
Guest
LinusESCfan

Just move it some months. I dont want to read anymore on the Corona issue. I dont feel good to read about it Every day. Im
Out

Una
Guest
Una

An option could be transferring the technology from the venue to a TV studio. IDK. Or reduce the scale of the stage in the venue in Rotterdam. Watching DMGP was not great and not only because there was no audience. The stage was very big. It didn’t look good without people in the audience. Maybe The Humans and Albert could lend their props. Joke aside. I wish EBU informed us about a plan B or C. Just that we know. Reading about the cruise terminal and the gold carpet doesn not make be better in the least. More countries have… Read more »

Enrique
Guest
Enrique

If Eurovision is made without audience, then the camera shots will be different.

Kosey
Guest
Kosey

Every article I am reading is saying the peak in Europe is about 10 weeks away. That means Eurovision in May is dead in the water – even a no-audience show – it would be a major PR disaster to go ahead when the virus is at its peak. If I were organizing it, I would be already booking the arena for Aug/September time as a back-up.

Una
Guest
Una

Would it be possible to get some info from EBU? The HoD happened a few days ago.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

MOVE THE CONTEST TO JULY OR AUGUST! We can wait! It’ll be better for the contenders (lest any one of them or any member of their entourage catch the virus) and better for us. Give the medical community time enough to sort out ways and/or find drugs to alleviate the symptoms that come with the virus. Give the countries time enough for the effects to wear off and for the people to recover. When the number of official or suspected daily infections starts to drop and head toward zero, especially in the Netherlands, then you can consider setting a new… Read more »

Hari
Guest
Hari

According to L’equipe (usually well informed newspapaper), nex week UEFA will announce the decision about moving EURO from June-July 2020 to 2021. Guys, please be realisitic. It will be a chain reaction. There’s no way this year ESC will happen as every year. Besides, it’s just the beginning of epidemic in Europe. In a month the number of infections will be skyrocketting and the measure like show with no audience, will be thought as simply not sufficient. ESC involves hundreds of people, not only fans. But taking into account how many dreadful songs have been selected this year, perhaps, some… Read more »

Denis
Guest
Denis

Not the same but I just watched some American shows without audience, like Jimmy Fallon show. And it actually turned out even better. It was like friends goofing around, having fun. More intimate. If this becomes reality for ESC and Netherlands get enough time to prepare it could be really great. Just a focus on songs and friendship..

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

You’re right Denis, except that even an audience-free contest would still require substantial international travel, for participants and delegations. Even if it were possible in April/May, I’m not sure that all singers would want to embark on such journeys. The Fallon show and the DMGP didn’t have worry about that aspect, everyone there was from the same country.

Glorious Mustache
Guest
Glorious Mustache

A late night show and Eurovision are not the same thing. This is a competition among 41 countries! It’s too huge to be without an audience . A lot of money from the tickets are making, hosting Eurovision, a profitable event. The tourism it brings aswell. Without those 2, the host country just spends millions on an unprofitable show.

Denis
Guest
Denis

It’s a TV-show made for a home audience. It can do without a live audience.

Hector
Guest
Hector

Thing is, those events are, at least at the moment, also unlikely to be held. There’s news that confirm there are talks to postpone EURO to summer 2021 and the Olympics to summer 2022 (no official confirmation of that happening for now).
That isn’t the main problem though imo. If Eurovision was to be postponed to summer, could it still be held in Rotterdam Ahoy? I mean, are there any other events already scheduled for summer yet?

HarpyDarper
Guest
HarpyDarper

Would it be too differcult to find the time for it? I expect the Ahoy his lots of events in the pipeline, would we be looking at some time next year?

Erik
Guest
Erik

comment image

Una
Guest
Una

LOL. I had to giggle a bit, sorry.

Robert De Boer
Guest
Robert De Boer

my wish will be to delay the show to the summer.it’s proved that the virus will not survive with big temperature.i hop they chose that and not to do it without public.

Kirby
Guest
Kirby

In my country, it’s still summer. All along, we’ve been having highs between 30°C and 35°C. Yesterday, the number of infected people rised to 33.

Myles
Guest
Myles

Are you in Chile? There are 33 cases here and it’s been around 33° .

Una
Guest
Una

I suggest reading the CDC website. I think it’s cdc.gov (Center for Disease Control from the US). It’s quite reliable. Easy to find online.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

You beat me to it. I just posted my opinion near the top. How hot does it get in the Netherlands in July?

Glorious Mustache
Guest
Glorious Mustache

It is NOT proven that the virus will not survive in high temperatures. That’s a big misunderstanding that’s been circulating on the internet lately. If that was the case then everyone would go to saunas or taking hot baths to cure coronavirus. Does that sound logical to you?? Please take a look at more credible sites about the coronavirus. This ain’t as simple as you think it is.

bastian
Guest
bastian

If it gets cancelled or they dont allow to have fans in the arena i feel devastated for the Dutch fans and every single person working hard to give us one of the best ESC’s ever. I was so looking forward to see the Dutch host ESC. This would be really sad. I’ll pray for all of us b*tches. No ESC = No life. Sorry for being so dramatic 🙂

Mws
Guest
Mws

Is it just me, or does this all feel like a massive over reaction from a lot of over cautious organizations right now. Come on, we want Eurovision, get on with it already, let it happen.

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

no, it is not over-reaction please do some reading besides wiwibloggs.

Mws
Guest
Mws

I’ve done a lot of reading. Why would you just assume Wiwibloggs is my only source of information about what is happening at the moment with Coronavirus worldwide. Stupid.

Kirby
Guest
Kirby

It’s not necessary to insult.

Glorious Mustache
Guest
Glorious Mustache

Well obviously you’ve done a lot of reading at the WRONG PLACES. Because any sane person would see that there is clear problem globally. Countries lose billions of dollars over this. None’s profiting!

Glorious Mustache
Guest
Glorious Mustache

Seriously? All these deaths are just a normal cases?
And if you think that’s an overblown situation, who’s benefiting from all this hysteria? Pharmaceutical companies? Because if you think that, then lord have mercy on you.

Mena
Guest
Mena

i think they should do eurovision without an audiance

Elsa
Guest
Elsa

Agree

Mr X
Guest
Mr X

Me too….

Glorious Mustache
Guest
Glorious Mustache

The host country needs to make a profit. By selling tickets and having a big boost on tourism. Banning people from attending Eurovision is literally the worst case scenario.

Ph2013
Guest
Ph2013

Like most Eurofans, I don’t want ESC to get cancelled, which is why I’m supporting the decision of continuing ESC without an audience (if they decide to not cancel, that is). What’s good about this is that at least we already saw an insight of what could happen if this situation goes through, I mean, we already saw what happened to DMGP, so at least we know what’ll happen.

Hari
Guest
Hari

According to L’equipe (usually well informed newspapaper), nex week UEFA will announce the decision about moving EURO from June-July 2020 to 2021. Guys, please be realisitic. It will be a chain reaction. There’s no way this year ESC will happen as every year. Besides, it’s just the beginning of epidemic in Europe. In a month the number of infections will be skyrocketting and the measure like show with no audience, will be thought as simply not sufficient. ESC involves hundreds of people, not only fans. But taking into account how many dreadful songs have been selected this year, perhaps, some… Read more »

Kim
Guest
Kim

Oz just announced travel bans and have as of Monday 16th March banned public gatherings bigger than 500 people. So the Australian Grand Prix has been cancelled and the Aussie Rules Football will not have crowds .Im sure the Rugby League and the Rugby Union will do the same as well as the soccer. So don’t come to us we are expecting a rise in the number of people with Clovid 19 over the next few weeks and they are still contemplating what is going to happen with schools and universities here . We still haven’t closed the airports to… Read more »

Beathyra
Guest
Beathyra

Well, tbh, I might going to sound really controversial, not-so-pessimistic and kinda unrealistic which some will never agree with me at all, but I don’t Eurovision will get canceled, but I think it will postpone somewhere later that year, later than in May. Better late than never. That’s all I can say. And I can only hope that we’re all going to be alright and we all can hope that the virus will go away because, if we survived the Spanish flu, Ebola outbreak, SARS and birdflu, then I’m sure that we can survive the corona virus.

Safiya
Guest
Safiya

Australia also has many cases of coronavirus.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

If the worst comes to the worst, the EBU could arrange an audio only contest with studio versions. Far from ideal I know, but some people do listen to the contest only on the radio anyway and we’d still end up with a result.

Safiya
Guest
Safiya

I don’t think it would be a radio contest but I had this thought that maybe they will organize some kind of on-line voting to choose the winning soon and the votes will only be based on what we know now – video clips and national final performances. But I don’t like this idea and I hope they will choose a different option.

noone
Guest
noone

I read somewhere that one of the possibilities is that each country performs in their own country, live from national TV studio like the points are presented.

Indiana07
Guest
Indiana07

It’s a good idea. Still a better option than a live show without audience.

Glorious Mustache
Guest
Glorious Mustache

what an ubsurd proposition. Lmaooo

CRISTIANO MESSI
Guest
CRISTIANO MESSI

Ofcourse Eurovision will be cancelled. If bigger events like EURO 2020 and Olympics get cancelled, this will too. But it will probably be held in some way, maybe without attendance or maybe in September.
Eurovision-fans should accept this decision.

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

As big as it is Eurovision’s reputation is really prone to cancellations. Like, you don’t really want broadcasters withdrawing when finding out the show is cancelled and their effort to hold national finals, internal selections etc. won’t be paid off. Better to cancel rather to lose your participants.

Loin dici
Guest
Loin dici

Oops I mean postpone not cancel

Sal
Guest
Sal

Let’s hope that warmer weather will stop the spread of this virus, of course we don’t know enough about corona virus to know if that will happen but that’s probably our best hope. However, I do think this is a massive overreaction that has been brought about by social media. We’ve panicked far less about more deadly viruses about 10 years ago and further back so what’s different about corona?

Safiya
Guest
Safiya

Other virurses were more deadly but this one spreads faster. Even if it won’t be deadly for everyone there won’t be enough places in the hospitals for those who need it. Some people who would need hospitalization in normal situation, will probably have to stay at home so their condition will get worse and worse…

Mark dowd
Guest
Mark dowd

What’s the scientific basis for saying warm weather will make this all go away? Singapore has had more than 100 cases, Hong Kong 115.. First cases now in Kenya. And it’s not even mid March! Please put science and hard facts before irrationality…

Sal
Guest
Sal

The scientific basis is that flu viruses typically can’t survive in high temperatures, hence the term ‘flu season’. Just because there’s some cases in hot countries doesn’t mean necessarily mean anything. It’s whether or not the virus is spreading from person-to-person at the same rate as in currently colder countries that will tell us whether it can withstand heat.

LinusESCfan
Guest
LinusESCfan

My opinion is to have it but in August or Something when everything is getting better. I want it in may ofc but if we cant, later is better. We survived the birdflue so i am 100% we survive this to.

CRISTIANO MESSI
Guest
CRISTIANO MESSI

Ofcourse we will survive, but hospitals will be full

Safiya
Guest
Safiya

It does not look optimistic. Many countries introduced special measures for about a month so until early April. Scientists predict that the situation will be still difficult at this time. No audience sounds easy but there’s so much more to it – there are so many people who are involved that even without the audience there will be hundreds of people in the arena. It’s also not easy to postpone… I am really sad about it but safety comes first. I hope we will eventually see this year’s selected acts on stage because it would be unfair to them to… Read more »

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

We have to run Eurovision as planned (being careful of course)
Even if we don’t have audience, there are still more than 250 people working there + the delegations
I think each country should film their live performance from their country if restrictions stay the same
Obviously, handing the trophy would be quite a problem from abroad xD

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Is it a realistic option to let every country film their own live performance? That won’t turn out fair. Countries like russia, sweden, germany would probably do a far better job at recreating a great stage show with stage props, led etc. at home than when for example san marino needs to create a live performance at home. We’ve seen slight echnical difficulties in the voting sequence almost every year. Imagine the struggle when all artists are streamed from their own country.

Roy Moreno
Guest
Roy Moreno

Of course it isn’t but I have no option left though 🙁

MartyMcCu
Guest
MartyMcCu

I empathise with all the eager fans who go every year, but we all need to remind ourselves, Eurovision is a TV show after all, ok its become bigger with a huge audience both in an arena and through broadcasting every year and now we are in the 3rd decade of the 21st century the numbers watching are big. I wasn’t even born in 1956 but Eurovision was born back then as a result of Europe putting its self back on its feet after 11 years of restructure since world war 2. Advances in technology were explored and a live… Read more »

FURRYGANG111
Guest
FURRYGANG111

They could ditch the live performances and have everyone vote based on the studio track/music videos.

LinusESCfan
Guest
LinusESCfan

NO, then russia would win. Live they would not

emre
Guest
emre

This is not only about audience/spectators. There’s many people involved in the competition. How many people in green rome, image. If there’s a coronavirus in one singer, it can get to others easily. And remember, one artist doesn’t come to Rotterdam alone. They come with a team! Many people involved for each country. Specially after Euro 2020 and La Liga cancelled, NBA cancelled, can’t see Eurovision this year..I’m afraid it will be cancelled.

bryn collins
Guest
bryn collins

don’t cancel plz

Butzu
Guest
Butzu

I am pretty sure that Eurovision won’t happen with an audience, I hope they won’t cancel it and instead just show it without an audience. I am not sure if it would be the right thing to post bone, as we cannot foresee how everything will pan out. Even in Berlin, and our government isn’t doing shit, we canceled two big Street festivals which would have happened in may/June, the start of the semester is postboned and there are rumors going on that they will close alltogether and might not even happen in summer (maybe only with online courses). I… Read more »

Pat
Guest
Pat

If the issue is the audience in the stadium; why not inviting only people from all over europe (free tickets) who have had Coronavirus already? This way it won‘t spread there anymore and everyone else can watch from home.

Charles the II
Guest
Charles the II

Well, then, why not host in another EBU country as a co-production?
I mean, Netherlands hosted it after an Israeli win in 1980. So there’s a precedent to that.
Australia? Morocco? Kazakhstan?
One of of Caucasus counties?
South Africa is an associate in the same time zone as Europe.
Also NL has some off-Europe territories like Curacao.

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Because the whole corona crisis doesn’t exist if we move eurovision to morocco or curacao?

Kar
Guest
Kar

No cancel please no !!! Can be without people , but nit cancel

Dtesc
Guest
Dtesc

If possible, postpone Eurovision to 2021 and cancel the 66th edition.

Ashton Schier
Guest
Ashton Schier

Safety is paramount, everyone. As much as I would hate Eurovision to be cancelled, it’s better than, you know, death.

Oy oy
Guest
Oy oy

I hate to say this but I am pretty sure Eurovision as we know it will be cancelled. The peak of the pandemi in Europe is expected from May to Ocober. The authorities in no European country would dare to host it then. This is not a normal flu, we have to act smart and together to save AS many lives as possible. The only options for Eurovision this year is hosting without audience but this too would need to bring quite a big crowd of people together (artists and crew). An other option is that each broadcaster will broadcast… Read more »

Kipski
Guest
Kipski

Although I don’t want it to happen, I’m ready to see EBU cancel the whole thing now

Calorie
Guest
Calorie

As much as I don’t want it to happen, I’m ready to see EBU cancel the whole thing now

Robert
Guest
Robert

Tears in my eyes… Always dreamed about my country hosting.. Wasn’t born when Teach In won with Ding a dong and got all too excited even when Edsilia Rombley came 4th in 1998, let alone the Common Linnets fight to the second spot.. So you can imagine Arcade winning was an outer body experience.. 😀 I LOVE Eurovision with all my heart but safety first, just pray that it will go on with audience.. Would be devastating if canceled..

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

I am really sad that this is happening in a year when Eurovision is being hosted by a broadcaster and in a country that loves Eurovision and is promising to deliver so much. Here’s hoping we’ll still get to experience it!

Robert
Guest
Robert

Thank you Robyn.. It’s true, you feel the whole country buzzing when Eurovision 2020 is the topic.. I really hope it will proceed for the fans and the organizers because we are definitely in for a great show.. Fingers crossed..

Nico deMask
Guest
Nico deMask

Cancel culture is toxic

Alex
Guest
Alex

I pray it will be better. Just stay home y’all!

Calorie
Guest
Calorie

I would agree to cancel Eurovision only if they can enter with these songs next year.

Calorie
Guest
Calorie

I would agree to cancel Eurovision only if they can enter with these songs next year.