The Venice Film Festival has opened here with strict health and safety measures. This international film event is the first to be held since the COVID-19 outbreak.
All visitors will have their temperatures checked several times at the gates and those with a body temperature above 37.5 degrees Celsius will not be allowed to enter. To facilitate contact tracing, guests will be obliged to book in advance for each film event and sit only on their pre-ordered seat.
During the screenings, press conferences and other indoor events, the wearing of a face mask is mandatory. Outdoors masks are not required. Ticket prices have been reduced by 50 percent and the organizers have installed additional screens.
Festival Director Alberto Barbera said that strict sanitary security measures are in place including multiple swab tests for those arriving from outside Europe and from certain European countries with higher epidemiological risks, such as Spain.
With guests coming from all over the world, Venice Marco Polo Airport is already equipped with a rapid swab test unit which can handle several hundred travellers per day.
Journalists are also obliged to wear face masks even during interviews and in the press room, where a strict seating policy is enforced.
To avoid risky gatherings, a high barrier has been erected along the red carpet to shield the catwalk.
“It will basically be a red carpet with no physical presence of fans, though the ritual will be broadcast live and streamed on multiple outlets,” Barbera said.
The usual cinema events, conferences and even some of the restaurants will also be strictly controlled. Crowd numbers will be reduced and all those present will be asked to provide their name, surname and mobile phone numbers. The lavish parties are a thing of the past. This edition will provide select dinners and cocktails only.
The Veneto region’s heath department and the Red Cross will be present on Lido island to address potential COVID-19 infections.
The Red Cross has installed eight beds for non-critical patients and a room with one bed for acute patients, according to Venice Committee Red Cross President Francesca Battan.
“In case of detecting suspect COVID patients, we are going to activate all the protection procedures for our staff and transport the potentially ill persons to hospital,” Battan told Xinhua.
The 77th Venice International Film Festival runs from Sept. 2 to Sept. 12.