When the long-standing Eurovision Song Contest was canceled for the first time in its 60+ year history, it was clear to many that the COVID-19 pandemic was truly going to change the global community’s lives. After more than a year of travel halted, lockdowns, lives changed, and lives lost— our world is different.
The global health and science communities came together to create vaccines and as more and more people are able to access their vaccine, we are slowly getting back to a version of “normal”.
It remains to be seen what the world will be like in April when the press, fans, and delegations descend on Turin, Italy for the start of Eurovision rehearsals.
“According to data from the European Centre for Disease and Control, 73.8% of Italians are fully vaccinated against the virus. But authorities want to avoid another surge in cases.” After being hit so hard by the pandemic, it is no surprise that Italy was the first European city to require a “COVID Certificate” for all workers. In France 3,000 health care workers were suspended for refusing to take the vaccine. Across the European Union, 71.5% of the population is vaccinated [as of Sep 2021].
Will the European Broadcasting Union alongside Turin’s city officials decide to enact a vaccine mandate for the press, delegations, and/or event attendees?
Fans are weighing in:
“I think that one of the benefits of there being a potential vaccine mandate is that the organizers might be able to have a larger audience than last year. Also, it would help the participating countries avoid positive cases (like Iceland experienced). While the vaccine is not 100% effective, I think it’s better safe than sorry.”
— José Luis, USA
“Attending Eurovision, as an artist, as a delegation representative, as an audience member, is a privilege. It’s not a right. I am absolutely in favor of vaccine mandates for anyone attending Eurovision next year.
Who knows what the world will look like be May. I hope Italy is planning for several different scenarios. But proof of vaccination status should be a requirement, no matter what. You wanna be anti-vax in the year of our Lord 2022? Guess Eurovision is gonna have to be anti-you. This is an opportunity that will just have to pass you by. Stay home. Maybe next year will be your time. Maybe not. That’s your choice.
What The Netherlands pulled off this year  (with much lower vaccination rates) is near miraculous. I’m sure it was much harder to pull off than it looked. I hope the emergency-free experience in Rotterdam doesn’t make artists, delegations, and audiences complacent about Covid safety. It will still be a going concern. Getting lax on protocols is the fastest way to create an outbreak. No one is talented enough to justify endangering the health and safety of an arena full of people.”
“I think that the artist and press and possibly even audience should at least be vaccinated whilst attending the contest. As Covid passports are coming out in some countries then surely a pass could be made for Eurovision. If it is the only way everyone can be kept safe and have a fantastic Eurovision experience then that’s what should be done.
Lateral Flow and PCR tests should also be taken regularly just to keep on top of it.”
—Josh, The United Kingdom
“I do believe it should be mandatory to be vaccinated. It is not fair for the artist to have to worry about the spread of COVID while rehearsing and being focused on the performance. Secondly this is a event that gathers people from around the globe basically, thinking pessimistic, we will have a lot of COVID variants looming there, so why should people have to be worried all the time. I know vaccines don’t prevent COVID but it is a big difference having to hang on for your life at a different country than having a flu on a different country.”
“I think Australians, who have faced a travel ban almost two years, will be very excited at the prospect of going to Italy – even if it means hotel or home quarantine on return. Italy is still listed as a “do not travel” zone with http://smartraveller.gov.au but with vaccination rates climbing, it should change soon.
Standing area in Turin? I’d say no. I’m not sure everyone is fully ready for that yet so I would assume a seated 2022, with maybe some standing in 2023.”
“I think the EBU will try to get back to the full form of the contest as much as possible. I think vaccine passports will be mandatory (unless medically exempt which I think will also require authentication) and depending on the situation in Italy next year I could still see masks being needed. I think the social distancing and every other seat policy will be the first to go
I also think that there may be some fan events, but I can also see those being slightly less than 2019 still. It’s hard to say what I want right now because I don’t know how the situation will be then but I think vaccination should be mandatory for attendance (unless you medically can’t) and I would like the masks to stay for at least the next year. I would prefer some social distancing but I know that’s probably unrealistic. I’d also like any fan events to try to be held outside or in bigger venues to allow for some distancing/air flow.”
- Italy makes Covid passports mandatory for all employees, CNBC