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‘Many questions unanswered’ on Germany reopening

Promoters call for "considerable clarity" over restart conditions after long-awaited "Freedom Day" confirmed for 20 March

By James Hanley on 21 Feb 2022

LiveKomm's Steffen Kache


Promoters in Germany have warned “many questions remain unanswered” about the country’s reopening, despite the promise of a long-awaited “Freedom Day” next month.

A gradual restart is underway that will see capacity limits on major outdoor events raised to 25,000 (or 75% capacity) – and indoor events to 6,000 (or 60% capacity) – on 4 March, with clubs also allowed to reopen from that date. Most other Covid curbs will then be axed from 20 March, although “low-threshold basic protective measures”, such as mask-wearing, will still apply.

The Event Management Forum has expressed its relief at the “steps back towards normality” being taken by the government, but says the plans require “considerable clarity” and currently appear to fall short of the industry’s needs.

“Should it mean that capacity restrictions are perhaps only reduced but basically continue to exist, the event industry would still be a long way from a ‘Freedom Day’,” says Prof Jens Michow, president of live music association BDKV. “Cost-efficiency presupposes that we at least have the chance to generate 100% income with 100% costs. To do this, we must be able to use the hall capacities to the full. As long as we don’t have this chance, we will still not be able to speak of normality in our economic sector.”

“Many questions remain unanswered,” adds Linda Residovic, MD of VPLT (Association for Media and Event Technology). “What happens in the fall when the incidence rises again? What help will continue to be available for the fall should it be needed? The events industry still can’t rely on anything and that’s why the opening in March will not bring about a restart in all areas.”

“Renewed lockdowns and closures must be prevented”

LiveKomm chair Axel Ballreich warns: “It must now be ensured that outdoor events can take place in summer without any restrictions. This includes standing room, without a mask, dancing and partying. If we do not receive this security immediately, we will have to cancel events now out of fairness to our guests, but also in the interest of minimising damage.”

Last week, venues association LiveKomm made an urgent appeal to policy makers under the motto “Dance out and quiet. The end of club and festival culture as we know it.” It has warned that clubs and festivals are concerned there is still a lack of knowledge about the planning effort required to run them.

“Door checks are part of everyday club life, which is why measures such as 2G-plus are easier to implement there than a mask requirement, which does not go together with club life and drinking,” says executive director Steffen Kache. “There shouldn’t be any talk of distance. Below 50% [capacity], every opening is like a lockdown – unless clear help is provided – at 75-80% there is at least the hope of self-sufficient operation again.

“Furthermore, the club and festival industry is demanding a confrontation with further threatening corona waves for the coming autumn. Renewed lockdowns and closures must be prevented, after two years politicians can be asked to take preventive measures and plans that start before the wave to protect the cultural industry. Anything else would be a total failure.”

 


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