Mass events not to be held indoors during emergencies


2020 03 12

Teatras kinas koncertas shutterstock_365303696.jpg

The Cabinet of Ministers has decided today that no mass events will take place in Lithuania until at least 27 March. These mandatory requirements will apply to all celebrations, sporting events, theatre performances, concerts, exhibitions and other events.

Outdoor events with fewer than 100 participants could only take place if the organizers provide opportunities for hand hygiene and guarantee that there are no arrivals from the countries announced as the affected territories. Likewise, events should be organized with the audience in mind – the majority should not be made up of the people in the risk group, i. e. seniors and those with chronic illnesses.

According to Aurelius Veryga, Head of the State Emergency Operations, restriction of mass events and gatherings are measures recommended by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) as appropriate to contain COVID-19.

‘So far, we have recommended deciding on the possibility of giving up mass events indoors. However, as we follow the situation in Europe and in the world, we are now no longer making recommendations but binding decisions to prevent the spread of the virus in society. If we do not do so now, we may be too late in the future; so the mandatory requirements will apply to everyone without exception’, says Minister Veryga.

Such measures are foreseen to run until 27 March 2020. If necessary, restrictions may be extended by decision of the Head of the State Emergency Operations.

Mass events and gatherings have been restricted in many European Union member states. Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia have already banned events with more than 100 participants, Denmark plans to take such measures in the near future. Some other countries have restricted mass events with more than 500-1000 people (Sweden, Belgium, France, Germany, Romania, Luxembourg and Switzerland), while Italy, Cyprus, Poland and Ireland have announced restrictions on all events without specifying the number of participants.