For online activities, however, communication is vital for whatever endeavour is being undertaken. For example, remote collaborations have been possible since the invention of the telegram. With the current technology available on mobile phones and computers, it is now expected to play an even more permanent role in commerce and personal lives.
As out-of-home recreation activities and gatherings still face several challenges in the short term, innovations in the delivery of live events allow organisers to reach their audiences directly without a physical venue. However, as mentioned above, solutions have been made available to make physical gatherings possible in “The New Normal.”
A good example is an event that the Virgin Money Unity Arena organised, which was called the UK’s first socially distanced concert by CNN. Some 2,500 music fans attended the event to watch English musician and singer/songwriter Sam Fender on the 11th of August last year.
Leipzig’s Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg carried out another notable experiment at the Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Germany, where professors and scientists organised three different concert simulations to study the method and rate at which COVID-19 spreads in larger-scale events. The experiment was carried out by approximately 1,500 volunteers to be the audience who were required to test negative for nCoV-19 at most 48 hours prior to the event and wear masks throughout the duration of the experiment.
Among the variables tested in the experiment, the crowd’s movement within the venue was recorded with electronic contact tracing devices given to each volunteer during the experiment. Hand sanitisers with photo fluorescent additives were used to track surfaces and areas with the most traffic. And apart from the physical experiment being held, computer simulations based on fluid dynamics allowed the scientists to study different ventilation systems in the arena.
To serve as a control, the first scenario simulated events pre-pandemic, without any social distancing measures in place. The second scenario added multiple points of entry to reduce bottlenecks and increase space between participants, and the third scenario had a smaller audience with a strictly enforced 5ft social distancing measure.
And as expected, the last scenario proved to be the safest of the three in mitigating the virus’s spread. With these findings, events are now possible, albeit with strict guidelines enforcing lowered venue capacities, proper ventilation, and the use of face masks and face shields for staff and attendees, to name a few. Among the considerations for hosting public gatherings, Stefan Moritz, professor at the university, recommends holding seated events to help with social distancing in the audience.