At the vey beginning of the pandemic, my thoughts were that vaccine or not, the only way shows can safely return “back to normal” or as close as possible to what normal used to be is having rapid tests available for everybody who enters the venue the day of the show. One Barcelona venue is now attempting to see if such a scenario can actually work.

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Barcelona’s Apolo Theater invited 1,000 people to participate in the study to evaluate how effective the rapid tests can be to prevent coronavirus spread. After getting 1,000 people to agree, 500 people were let into the venue and then the other 500 will be the control group asked to go home. “They will form a control group that will allow the organizers to analyze if there was any contagion inside the concert hall despite the screening with antigen tests, which while not as accurate as other types of tests, do produce results in 15 minutes as compared to several hours, or days, later,” according to AP.

Dr. Boris Revollo, the virologist who designed the study noted that the tests would not be an excuse to avoid wearing masks or other sanitation rules.

The 500 people were treated to a five-hour music festivals. Social distancing was not enforced during the concert to get the most realistic test of what a concert environment would be like. Masks were still worn, other than in the upstairs bar area.

All 1,000 volunteers will underground two PCR tests, which have a better capacity to detect the virus than the same-day rapid antigen test, on the day before the concert and then eight days later. This will allow the scientists to investigate if anybody got infected during the concert.

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A similar study was conducted in Germany recently that revealed “low to very low risk of COVID-19 spread” if proper safety precautions were met. You can read about that study here.

With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down any sort of live entertainment, it’s hard to get a gauge on when a return to any sense of normalcy will be. When will there be shows again? Will they be social distancing? Will mosh pits ever be permitted again? We have to start somewhere.

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