Zandvoort preparing for Grand Prix despite Covid restrictions
The municipality of Zandvoort and event organization Zandvoort Beyond will continue with the preparations for the Formula 1 Heineken Dutch Grand Prix, which will be held in the seaside town on the first weekend of September. Zandvoort expects 105,000 visitors a day on 3, 4, and 5 September, but the cabinet can decide on 13 August to come up with new, strict coronavirus rules in September. "No one knows what it will be. We wait and in the meantime we are moving forward at full speed," said a spokesperson for the municipality.
During the weekend of car races, Dutch railways NS will run twelve trains per hour to and from Zandvoort. This means that a train will arrive or depart every five minutes, so that 10,000 passengers can be transported per hour. Usually two to six trains per hour arrive in Zandvoort. Rail manager ProRail built extra platform space for this crowd in Zandvoort, while the NS has been planning for more than a year and will deploy a lot of extra people. "It is a huge operation," said an NS spokesperson.
The NS did not want to anticipate a new cabinet decision on the coronavirus measures on 13 August, which could mean a limitation on the number of visitors to F1. "We always have good contact with the municipality and the Dutch Grand Prix organization. The cabinet and the organization must first make a decision before we adjust our planning." The Dutch Grand Prix organization emphasized so far that the race is a sporting event and not a multi-day music festival and that the same rules do not apply.
Zandvoort and Bloemendaal aan Zee will not or hardly be accessible by car on 2, 3, 4 and 5 September, except for people who have a pass. Even beach-goers who are not going to watch the race can only come by train, bus, bicycle or on foot. Rail crossings in Zandvoort will be closed because so many trains will run per hour. Beach huts will be accessible, but a number of beach exits will be closed. Entrepreneurs will not be allowed to offer alternative means of transport such as an electric scooter or go-kart.
The NS warned that it will be very busy on the trains to and from Zandvoort and that travelers will not be able to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. The municipality expects large crowds on the walking route from the station to the circuit.
The organization of the Dutch Grand Prix also announced that it will continue with the preparation of the event on the basis of full capacity. "As an organizer, we depend on the rules and conditions that the national government imposes on us as an organization and on the visitor," said a spokesperson for the Dutch GP. "We assume that the current government measures will have the desired effect and that the same measures can be released for professionally organized sports events after 13 August. We are preparing for the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at full capacity."
Reporting by ANP.