Swabs, Tracing & Socially Distanced Red Carpets: The COVID Protocols Guests Can Expect At The Venice Film Festival

Andreas Wiseman
·5 min read

The Venice Film Festival has revealed the array of coronavirus protocols it will enforce at this year’s event, which is due to get underway in just over two weeks. Scroll down for the measures in full.

Venice is set to be the first major festival to stage a physical edition since early March. However, amid travel restrictions and new outbreaks across Europe, Asia and the Americas, international attendance is expected to be considerably lower than previous editions. Many industry professionals we have spoken to – including those who have already booked elements of their journey – are still weighing up their attendance in light of how quickly travel advice and restrictions are changing.

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Venice is usually a launch-pad for Oscar movies but this year’s lineup is thin on American studio fare due to the pandemic. Impressively, the event has managed to maintain a sizable program of global arthouse movies.

Italy has managed to avoid a second wave to date, but in recent weeks coronavirus cases have been spiking across Europe with Spain, France and Belgium among the worst affected. The UK today re-introduced a quarantine for those arriving from France, a move which was reciprocated by the French government. Some Italian regions already have quarantine measures in place for people arriving from Spain. New Zealand and Australia are among countries further afield to see a resurgence in cases, while Brazil and the U.S. remain among the worst impacted nations.

Below is a summary of protocols the festival yesterday communicated to guests arriving from outside the EU (“non-Schengen or equivalent areas”). The protocols apply to all guests, though only those arriving from outside the EU will need to do tests. That does not include UK guests, the festival confirmed to us.


All guests arriving from outside the EU will have to take a COVID test three days prior to departure. Negative tests will need to be shown at the border along with an invitation letter from the festival. A copy of the result will also need to be sent to the festival before departure.

Guests arriving from outside the eurozone and staying less than 120 hours at the festival will be required to do another swab within 24 hours of arrival. The festival will arrange the test and cover the cost. Positive tests will result in confinement.

For those guests arriving from outside the EU and staying more than 120 hours, a third compulsory swab will be taken after five days, once again arranged by the Biennale. The festival says that while waiting for the results of the second and third swabs “guests should always wear masks and maintain social distancing”, and avoid any tourist activities.

Citizens of non-Schengen zone areas who have been resident in the Schengen area for more than 14 days prior to their arrival in Venice will not need to carry out the tests. UK guests do not need to do tests.

Thermo Scanners & Cleaning

There will be nine “gates of access” to the festival with thermo scanners taking the temperatures of all entering guests. No one with a temperature of 37.5 celsius will be allowed to access the area. Additional thermo scanners will be placed by the cinemas outside the main festival hub.

Sanitizing liquids and gel will be provided to the public in all areas (cinemas, entrance halls, meeting points etc).

According to the festival, all areas will be cleaned regularly, including theaters, “service areas, cars and water taxis”. Hotels have also been advised to follow cleaning protocols.

Social Distancing

Social distancing will be required for all festival activities. Seating will be reduced in all cinemas and press conferences. On the red carpet, photographers will be distanced from each other and from those on the carpet. At the open-air photocall, the number of photographers will be reduced and distancing will be in place.

No public viewers will be allowed to gather outside the red carpet, and there will be no autographs seeking/signing. However, the red carpet arrivals will be broadcasted live on the festival’s online channel and on national TV.

The festival says there will be “reduced access to internal areas of the festival.”

Masks, Tickets, Tracing

Mask will be required in all external areas when distancing is not possible or difficult, and must be worn when entering all internal areas. Masks will have to be kept on while standing in line, and while seated in cinemas and press and conference areas.

Ticketing and booking will be exclusively online, in order to avoid queues. Meanwhile, all participants will be will be traced when entering cinemas and other buildings.

There will be a reduction in print materials with most of information given to the public in electronic format.

As usual, the festival will have an on-site Emergency Rescue facility, managed by the local health authorities.

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