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New restrictions in Germany: Promoters react

Germany’s national and regional leaders have moved to ban unvaccinated people from much of public life, including live music venues.

In a bid to curb the fourth wave of Covid-19, only those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid will be allowed in cultural venues, restaurants, cinemas, leisure facilities and many shops.

According to outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel, vaccinations could be made mandatory by February.

The so-called 2G rule (meaning genesen for recovered in the past six months and geimpft for vaccinated) was already in operation in some German states but it will now be enforced nationwide.

The 2G policy is part of a wider set of restrictions that will see clubs close in areas where 350 cases have been recorded per 100,000 people in the past seven days (the national rate is over 400).

Outdoor events are limited to 50% capacity with a maximum of 15,000 attendees while indoor events are restricted to 50% capacity with a maximum of 5,000 attendees. Masks are mandatory at all events.

“[The 2G rule] encourages vaccination and it is a high vaccination rate that our industry needs in order to return to normal”

German promoters have welcomed the nationwide implementation of the 2G rule but expressed major concerns about varying restrictions on social distancing and capacity, and emphasised the need for further financial support in 2022.

“We believe that setting clear rules is helpful and good for our business, as long as they are sensible and rational and therefore welcome the 2G rules,” says Detlef Kornett, CEO of Berlin-based promoter and ticket agency, DEAG.

“The live industry pushed government already in the summer of this year to introduce the 2G rule for all live events. It takes away the confusion about tests, certificates and how to check and record them which overall makes operations of a live event easier. But it also encourages vaccination and it is a high vaccination rate that our industry needs in order to return to normal.

“However the 2G rule is then accompanied by capacity and social distancing– rules that vary by federal state in Germany, by indoor and outdoor and these rules are subject to interpretation.

“However that variation of rules makes touring and even single concerts impossible and results in uncertainties and injustices throughout Germany. The end result is that live events are in some instances made impossible or economically unsound.

“That variation of rules makes touring and even single concerts impossible”

“The live industry is facing again a ban to operate and provide their service to consumers which is devastating in the end,” he concludes.

Dieter Semmelmann, CEO of Semmel Concerts, believes the new 2G rule may incentivise live music fans to get vaccinated in order to attend concerts.

According to the promoter, Semmelmann has already produced a myriad of concerts with the 2G rule and has found that the vaccination rate across their 3G events is “very high”.

However, the Semmel Concerts CEO says he’s concerned about how the new restrictions will impact demand for live music.

“The acceptance of events going on sale currently or during the pandemic remains weak. Thus governmental bridging support for the live-entertainment industry will also be necessary in 2022.

“Besides that, a solid commitment that at least vaccinated and recovered people will definitely be able to attend concerts in the future and buy tickets with a good conscience would be of crucial importance,” he adds.

Germany is treading a similar path to neighbouring country Austria, which previously imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated residents and recently became the first European country to announce mandatory Covid vaccinations.


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Hamburg venues allowed to ban unvaccinated fans

Promoters and venues in Hamburg can soon ban unvaccinated people from attending events, in order to do away with social distancing and increase capacity limits.

Germany on Monday (23 August) moved to a uniform Covid health pass system which allows entry to many public spaces only to people who’ve been vaccinated (geimpft), have recovered from Covid (gensesen) or have been tested against Covid (getestet) – otherwise known as the 3G model.

But on Tuesday (24 August), the Hamburg senate announced that, from Saturday 28 August, it will introduce a ‘2G-option model’ for event organisers and business owners in the federal state.

This means they can allow entry exclusively to people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid within the last six months. The employees of the cultural institutions also have to be vaccinated at 2G events.

Organisers who implement the 2G model will be allowed to increase the number of attendees to 1,300 for indoor events and 2,000 for outdoor.

In addition, organisers and attendees of 2G events will not need to adhere to certain Covid regulations such as social distancing. However, masks will remain compulsory in all indoor settings.

Organisers who implement the 2G model will be allowed to increase the number of attendees to 1,300 indoorand 2,000 outdoor

The senate says operators will face fines of up to €20,000 if they do not check for proof of vaccination or recovery (or a negative test if it’s a 3G event), in conjunction with photo ID.

Organisers can also opt for the 3G model but if they do, they will have to follow previous Covid restrictions, such as capacity restrictions.

The 2G or 3G option is aimed at music venues, theatres, cinemas, trade fair operators, restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and fitness studios, among other businesses.

Organisers of sporting events with visitors, public festivals or educational courses should also be able to exclude unvaccinated people if they want to, says the Hamburg senate.

The only exceptions to the 2G rule will apply to children and young people. All under-18s will be allowed to attend 2G events without full vaccination for a grace period.

“Restrictions must be proportionate and may only apply for as long as they are necessary to combat the pandemic”

For 12 to 18-year-olds, who have been urged to get vaccinated, the transitional period will expire in six weeks. For children under 12, for whom no vaccine has been approved, it will continue to apply.

A spokesperson for the Hamburg senate says there are no exceptions for people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons because they “are generally at high risk of infection and should avoid crowds”.

Hamburg’s first mayor, Peter Tschentscher, says: “Restrictions must be proportionate and may only apply for as long as they are necessary to combat the pandemic.”

However, the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) argues that the 2G model alone is not a “viable solution” as the industry cannot afford to “do without almost half of its clientele”.

The association has proposed a variation of the model – ‘2G+PCR’ – which would also allow entry to those who show a negative PCR test – a more reliable, but expensive and time-consuming, option than rapid testing.

BDKV is now urging the government to implement its suggested model in order to do away with capacity restrictions nationwide.

 


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