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Germany could face fresh winter Covid restrictions

Live event organisers issued a preemptive warning to the government against further measures earlier this summer

By James Hanley on 10 Aug 2022


The German concert industry could face fresh Covid restrictions this autumn and winter as health chiefs bid to prevent another seasonal spike in infections.

A proposed amendment to the Infection Protection Act would make masks mandatory on public transport and care facilities from 1 October to 7 April, while giving individual states the power to introduce additional regulations – potentially impacting the live music business.

“If event organisers have to reduce capacities at short notice because state governments – even without clear pandemic definitions – determine a tightening [of restrictions], it is not possible to plan seriously,” says Christian Eichenberger, chair of events trade body Fwd, as per Pollstar.

“The consequence is maximum uncertainty”

“The consequence is maximum uncertainty among clients and guests of events. If the draft is not revised, extensive event cancellations from October onwards will be the inevitable consequence.”

A press release from the country’s ministry of health says: “Autumn and winter are associated with a seasonal surge in Covid-19 cases to be expected – and with an increased burden on the health system and other critical infrastructure. Therefore, modified connection rules are required.”

Under the proposals, IQ understands that capacity limits on concerts would only be deemed necessary in the worst cases, and exemptions would be given to those who receive the new Omicron-adapted Covid vaccine, which is expected to become available later this year.

“At the moment, it’s just a plan,” an industry source tells IQ. “We are fighting against any restrictions.”

“Music clubs can only survive without capacity restrictions, distance rules and the obligation to wear masks”

Earlier this summer, live event organisers in Germany issued a preemptive warning to the government against potential further restrictions.

The Event Management Forum said it is “imperative” any future containment measures did not include capacity limits or social distancing requirements for concerts.

“Music clubs can only survive without capacity restrictions, distance rules and the obligation to wear masks,” said LiveKomm chair Axel Ballreich. “We can come to terms with the need for PCR tests at the highest risk level – if the hospital and KRITIS burden make it absolutely necessary. However, the cost of the tests must be borne by the state. The social and societal aspects of the pandemic must not be neglected.”

Some live music promoters in Germany reported sluggish ticket sales in the aftermath of Covid restrictions being lifted, and BDKV president Jens Michow warned the overall economic situation remained precarious.

“Ticket sales for cultural events are extremely poor for many events,” he said. “The industry is therefore still in a very desolate situation, in which it only takes a small gust of wind to finally tip it over.”

 


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