(Credit: Bayerische Staatsoper official website)
The Bayerische Staatsoper has announced the results of its pilot project, which allowed up to 500 spectators into the opera house.
Per the official statement on the company’s website, the pilot phase in the National Theater was professionally assessed by a team of doctors from the Klinikum rechts der Isar at the Technical University of Munich and representatives from the State Office for Health and Food Safety. Their experts tackled both rehearsals and performances, as well as the audience area. The present results of the pilot project show that the increase in the number of spectators did not increase the risk of infection with COVID-19.
Per a hygiene concept announced on Sep. 1, 2020, in September and October, two different seating plans were probed. The first seating plan was based on every second row in the auditorium left empty, while the second plan relied on a Salzburg chessboard pattern. Additionally, at the start of the season, performances were initially held without intermissions and theater catering, but since the end of September, the opera house allowed intermissions and catering.
Per both seating plans, mandatory social distance was strictly observed, and there was no lateral motion of air to spread the potentially infectious aerosols. The professional teams also did an analysis on the ventilation conditions, which showed the air exchange of 36 cubic meters per hour per person with a maximum number of 2,101 spectators.
Four positive COVID-19 cases have been identified so far. The first case was one of the spectators. The case analysis showed that the hygiene rules were observed during the visit and that there was no intensive contact with other visitors.
The remaining three cases were amongst the red group of performers. Of those three, two cases were identified upon arrival as part of the preliminary testing, and thus had no contact with the employees at the Bayerische Staatsoper. The contact cases of the final positive case in the red group were quickly identified, and their test results came back negative, thus preventing the further outbreak at the opera house.