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European assocs predict 6–12 month recovery period

Today the UK inches closer towards a return to normality after delivering the very first Covid jab as part of the mass vaccination programme being rolled out across the nation.

A 90-year-old woman received the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be given in the coming weeks, with up to four million more are expected by the end of the month, according to the BBC.

The rollout is a light at the end of the tunnel for the domestic live industry, especially after the UK culture minister predicted that the events industry is likely to return to normality by next Easter.

However, associations in Germany, Spain and Switzerland say the rollout for vaccines in Europe is a little further behind and predict a recovery period of between 6–12 months for live.

EU member countries have jointly agreed on the purchase, approval and distribution of the vaccines and are currently awaiting approval by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is expected between mid-December and the end of the year.

“[BDKV] expects the industry back on track in 2022, nationally, and picking up to pre-pandemic operations in 2023”

Jens Michow, managing president of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) in Germany, says he is hoping for the domestic live industry to return for good during the course of 2021 but he expects Covid-safe regulations to stay in place until the pandemic is over.

“Vaccine status development until winter 2021/22 is crucial for the industry to be able to operate through next winter without lockdowns. If that would be possible, we expect the industry back on track in 2022, nationally, and picking up to pre-pandemic operations in 2023, but only if the international partners can operate without limitations as well,” he says.

In Germany, the federal states are responsible for rolling out the vaccines to the population and are currently setting up vaccine centres, which will be ready during the course of December, ready to follow the national vaccination strategy for distribution.

Similarly, the distribution of the vaccine in Switzerland will be organised by each individual canton, though Stefan Breitenmoser from Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA) says not all cantons will be ready when the vaccine is launched early next year and predicts a return to live late next year at the earliest.

“Due to planning uncertainty and limited international travel, many [Swiss] artists are postponing their tours until 2022”

“Pre-sales for events, no matter when they take place, have completely collapsed again since mid-October 2020,” says Breitenmoser. “Due to planning uncertainty and limited international travel, many artists are currently postponing their tours until 2022. We do not expect normal operations before the end of 2021, although there will be some easing of the measures before then, as we need at least six months’ lead time after the end of the measures.”

According to an interview with the Swiss head of infection control at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), Virginie Masserey, Switzerland’s vaccination rollout should last six months and be completed by the summer of 2021.

Elsewhere, though the Association of Musical Promoters of Spain says it won’t speculate on a specific date for the return of live, “there is some optimism regarding summer 2021, though it will depend on progress in vaccination and the health situation”. A spokesperson says: “For now, what we do know is that many summer festivals have already begun to announce a 2021 edition that can be experienced normally.”

“There is some optimism [in Spain] regarding summer 2021, though it will depend on progress of the vaccination”

According to the association, approval for the first of the vaccines (Pfizer) will come on 29 December and the second (Moderna) on January 12 for Spain. Spanish president Pedro Sánchez says the government is “working at full capacity so that the vaccines are available as soon as possible.”

According to the minister of health, Salvador Illa, Spain’s vaccination campaign could begin in January and by May and June between 15–20 million people would already be vaccinated.

The minister has presented a vaccination plan that will be developed in three phases, distributed throughout 2021 and giving priority to risk groups.

The associations’ timelines roughly align with that of industry heads including CTS Eventim’s Klaus Peter Schulenburg and AEG Presents France’s Arnaud Meersseman, who shared predictions with IQ last month after news of the two vaccines. Read the feature here.


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