70,000 expected at Zandvoort Grand Prix amidst backlash over crowds
Around 70 thousand fans arrived at the Zandvoort Grand Prix that will kick off at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday for the qualifiers.
Due to a technical error at the cash registers, large crowds formed at the event on Friday. The organizers of the Grand Prix, therefore, undertook extra measures on Saturday to ensure that people maintained their distance.
“I know how people feel about this event”, Zandvoort mayor David Moolenburgh said to NOS Radio 1 Journaal. “It was busy at certain times yesterday but the organization of the Dutch Grand Prix will respond to that today. It was annoying to see those images, but some crowds at certain times on the tack cannot be avoided.”
“We have looked at the situation critically to prevent something like this from happening again”, manager for Covid-19 at the Grand Prix Dimitri Bonthuis said. “Should such a situation occur again, we will intervene quickly.
On social media, the Grand Prix was criticized due to the crowds that occurred during the practice laps. "Very different from a festival actually", presenter Tim Hofman responded sarcastically.
Festival organizers have voiced their disagreement as well that the Grand Prix is allowed to go through but festivals have been forbidden. The risk of a coronavirus infection is the same at the Grand Prix, as it would be at a festival, some experts claimed.
“I hope that the F1 the final proof is that with testing for access it is still possible to organize events where 75 thousand people are swarming together”, pop journalist Atze de Vrieze tweeted.
Health Minister Hugo de Jonge stated on Friday that the same rules apply to all sectors. “There is no double standard. The rules are the same for all sectors”, De Jonge said on Friday.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.