Germany bans major events until end of August: What you need to know

Germany bans major events until end of August: What you need to know
It's still unclear if Oktoberfest will go ahead this year. Photo: DPA
The German government has said events will be banned up until August 31st as part of measures to stall the spread of coronavirus. We take a look at why and what this means.

Concerts, festivals, trade fairs, football matches with crowds – these are some of the major events in Germany which will not be allowed to go ahead this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel of the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) agreed with Germany's 16 states on Wednesday that major events in Germany will be banned in principle until the end of August.

It's part of plans to ease the current lockdown restrictions while trying to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Concrete regulations on the cancellation of events will be drawn up by individual states. It is expected that more information will become available in the coming weeks.

Among other things, the ban would affect larger gigs, trade fairs, beer festivals and funfairs, according to initial discussions.

It's still unclear how future events – such as Munich's Oktoberfest, which begins in September – will be affected.

Some organisers have already started announcing cancellations, including the Wacken Open Air festival which was due to take place from July 30th until August 1st.

And Rock am Ring organisers also announced that the festival, due to take place on June 5th to 7th, was to be cancelled.

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Why are events banned?

In new guidelines published on Wednesday, the government said large-scale events “play a major role in the dynamics of infection”.

Experts have repeatedly said that close-contact social gatherings have contributed to the spread of coronavirus.

Large outbreaks, such as that in Heinsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, have stemmed from social gatherings. In this area, a carnival event is thought to have fuelled the spread of Covid-19 in communities.

This ban on events therefore helps to contain the spread of coronavirus and at the same time provides some clarity for organisers and consumers.

READ ALSO: Germany to begin easing coronavirus curbs in coming weeks

What about football games?

Big sporting events like Bundesliga games will not be allowed to go ahead with crowds. But no formal decision has been made yet on if matches can take place behind closed doors as so-called “ghost games” without an audience.

What about future events like Oktoberfest?

No decision has been made yet on world-renowned beer festival, Oktoberfest, which this year is scheduled to take place from September 19th until October 4th. But according to Bavaria state premier Markus Söder it's unlikely it will happen.

“I am very, very sceptical and, from the current perspective, I can hardly imagine that such a large event is even possible at this time”, the Christian Social Union (CSU) leader said on Wednesday on Bavarian Radio.

Söder said, however, that the final decision has not yet been made. In the next two weeks, he plans to discuss the situation with Munich's mayor.

Around six million visitors attend the festival in the Bavarian capital of Munich every year.

Can I get money back?

If an event is cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, you should be able to get your money back, reported Focus Online on Thursday.

That's because the organiser has not fulfilled the obligation to perform – regardless of whether they are responsible for the cancellation, according to consumer advocates.

Anyone with a ticket for an event is advised to look out for information from the organiser or contact them if they are unsure. Many events will likely be put on hold and rescheduled.

 


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