German live business demands end to restrictions


February 8, 2022

Germany’s Event Management Forum (EMF) is pleading for the government to follow the lead of other European nations and drop all Covid restrictions.

At the start of February, Denmark became the first country in the EU to announce it was ending all coronavirus measures and no longer classifying Covid-19 as a socially dangerous disease. Sweden will followed suit from tomorrow (9 February) and Finland will relax curbs from next week.

England’s Plan B measures, which included a mandate for facemasks and vaccine passports (or a negative LFT) at concerts, were also dropped in January and other UK markets have been rolling back restrictions.

However, Germany currently only allows up to 10,000 spectators at major outdoor events, and up to 4,000 participants in indoor spaces. Masks must be worn, and proof of vaccination or recovery, as well as a booster shot or negative test status (depending on the state) will also be required. Events that do not qualify as national major events with over 2,000 spectators still fall under state-specific rules.

“The corona rules are being relaxed not only in most of the neighbouring European countries, but also in the federal states,” says Prof Jens Michow, president of live music association BDKV. “The mask requirement has been abolished and distance rules no longer exist. It is high time that this finally happened across the country without restrictions.”


The BDKV is part of the EMF alliance, which consists of five major organisations including fellow live music trade body LiveKomm.

“We have respected and fully implemented all containment measures since the beginning of the pandemic,” adds Michow. “However, the fact that there is still no binding exit strategy that enables organisers to plan reliably is no longer acceptable. We call on the federal government to take appropriate decisions immediately.”

Axel Ballreich, first chairman of Livekomm, adds that the industry is no longer alone in calling for measures to be axed.

“An increasing number of doctors and politicians are also calling for an end to the containment measures,” he says. “Limiting indoor events to 1,000 and open air events to 10,000 people is really no longer comprehensible.”

The German events business has welcomed a mooted extension to the short-term work allowance – which provides partial compensation for loss of earnings due to the pandemic – from late March until the end of June, but warns that is not enough for the industry.

“Despite considerable aid, the industry is increasingly bleeding out economically. Aid is being reclaimed, deferred taxes are already being made due by the tax authorities, although the situation in the industry has actually deteriorated in the meantime,” adds Marcus Pohl, first chairman of the interest group of independent service providers in the event industry (ISDV). “We must be allowed to work without restrictions again, otherwise we will lose an important branch of the economy that was still one of the top markets in the world in 2019. There must finally be a functioning restart for us too.”

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