With travel restrictions in place across many parts of the world, the chances of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest going ahead as planned are slim. The Eurovision Reference Group met this morning to agree next steps.
Shooting of postcards has been suspended, and local recruitment to support the event placed on hold. The Netherlands has largely come to a stand still with businesses and schools shuttered until at least April 6.
All major Eurovision preview parties have been cancelled, with events pulled in Israel, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.
On Tuesday, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen banned all non-essential travel throughout Europe’s Schengen free-travel zone. Addressing French TV viewers, President Emmanuel Macron explained that “all trips between non-European countries and EU countries will be suspended”.
The measures come on top of a ban for non-EU residents and will remain in place for at least 30 days, cutting into Contest rehearsal time.
Following the meeting today, EBU spokesman Dave Goodman stressed no final decision has been made. Although preparations continue, the city of Rotterdam has halted plans for supporting cultural events.
He referred to a week-old statement on the official Contest website which notes that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) continues to monitor the situation along with the Dutch host broadcasters and the City of Rotterdam.
The Reference Group today considered two options: a Contest without an audience or moving the show to May 2021 – as has now happened with the European Football Championships.
On Tuesday afternoon, the official Eurovision Twitter stream posted this (incredibly vague) non-announcement: