When the cultural sector relies on science to prepare for the reopening of theaters

The question of the imminent reopening of cultural sites in France this week returns to the political agenda, with the fact-finding mission in particular from the Senate that published its recommendations on Tuesday, April 13th. It calls for the reopening of cultural sites on demand as soon as incarceration ends. On the same day, the Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) assistance protocol, for the experimental concert planned in the capital, should usually be studied by the authorities.

Since February, French cultural players regularly cite a German scientific study. It appears that theaters, opera houses and museums are the least dangerous public places for the transmission of the Coronavirus, and it is clear that they respect health instructions. There is no study of the same size in France at the moment, but some places have actually worked alongside them.

This is the case of the Philharmonie de Paris, the first to be painted in December, with a 3D model of the large Pierre Boulez room by Dassault Systèmes. The study showed that air circulation, with the help of air conditioning, in the presence of masked and seated spectators would significantly reduce the risk of contamination, even at full scale. “This study cannot be used as a national standard because all rooms are different.”, Says Laurent Bale, director of Philharmonie.

“The correct approach is to classify the rooms and conduct several studies in order to be able to obtain a better scientific view.”

Laurent Bale

To franceinfo

Philharmonic cannot actually be generic. It’s a modern building, opened in 2015, and not everyone has that luck or the same architecture. This does not prevent science from bringing more and more of its expertise to the world of culture since the beginning of the epidemic. Constance DeLogere is a virologist at Saint Louis Hospital in Paris and the coordinator of the test concert project to be held in May in Bercy: “What we lack is to continue all these experiences in different contexts and in rooms of different sizes, so that we can feed the discussion and prepare the periods in which the occurrence, and the number of new cases, is acceptable to reopen places open to the public, especially cultural places.”

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In recent years, audience reception at festivals, concerts, or cultural venues in general has actually evolved a lot to become more complex. Since the 2015 attacks, security has become more important, for anticipation, organization, and budgeting. It will now also be necessary to deal, in the coming months or even years, with the health dimension. Imagine if, in front of the event, you had to verify that all spectators were well registered via the TousAntiCovid app, Aurélie Hannedouche is the general delegate of the Syndicate des Musiques Actuelles. This will create a big queue in front of your ballroom or in front of the festival and there, the standard of counterterrorism, is not at all satisfied anymore. ”

And remember that for cultural venues, whatever they may be, a gradual reopening is still planned, according to the government, from mid-May.

The Scientific Arguments for Reopening Cultural Places: The Mato Maestracci Report

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