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Response to RKI warning: How are event organisers in Bonn reacting to rising incidence rates?

Response to RKI warning : How are event organisers in Bonn reacting to rising incidence rates?

In view of the sky-rocketing number of Corona infections, the Robert Koch Institute has now warned against holding large events. Reactions among event organisers in Bonn range from increased caution to deep concern.

Every day a new negative record is reached. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the number of new reported corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants is 263.7. This is the fifth day in a row that the incidence rate has reached a new high. RKI President Lothar Wieler warned, “It's five past twelve,” meaning that it is already too late. The Institute’s weekly report states: “The RKI strongly advises cancelling or avoiding larger events if possible, and also reducing all other unnecessary contacts.” How are event organisers, companies and churches in Bonn dealing with this?

■ Brückenforum (Centre for Culture & Events): For Jürgen Harder, one thing is certain: He will not cancel any large events as long as they are not banned. “We are doing the maximum that is allowed," says the manager of the Brückenforum in Bonn. He is adhering to the current rules, which means admission only to those who are vaccinated, have recovered or have a negative test (3G), plus hygiene measures. He explains that he will do what the city authorities and the state prescribe and will not introduce stricter measures without reason - such as entry only for vaccinated and recovered people (2G). Events such as the Bonn City Soldiers’ general roll call for carnival will take place on Saturday as planned.

■ The Association for Stallholders & Exhibitors: Roland Barth is “very concerned” about the new developments. The second chairman of the association in Bonn is in the midst of finalising plans for the local Christmas markets. “The staff have long since been hired, the stall money paid, suppliers are ready and the decorations are on their way” - in short, a cancellation would be a bitter blow. “We will be outside in the fresh air and are following all the hygiene rules. We are also prepared to introduce 2G and a requirement to wear masks at short notice,” says Barth. “I just hope that the markets can take place.” Now it is a matter of waiting for the federal-state conference next week, he says.

■ Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom is also reacting to the rising number of infections. The big Christmas party with 5000 to 6000 employees at the Bonn site has been cancelled again this year, says spokesperson Dirk Wende. Whether other events will take place - such as the Telekom Beethoven Competition - will be decided according to the Corona Protection Ordinance in force at the time, he explains.

■ Deutsche Post: Deutsche Post has a similar viewpoint. For the company’s Jazz Fest, which took place at the Post Tower on Thursday, it “went beyond the necessary legal requirements”, says spokesman David Stöppler. Participation was restricted to those with a negative antigen test, and free tests were offered to the guests, he said. According to Stöppler, the company continues to follow the case numbers and regional guidelines, and further events with an audience are not planned at the Post Tower for the time being anyway.

■ Churches: “We are having to hastily put things together,” says Pastor Joachim Gerhardt, who is responsible for press relations at the Protestant Church in Bonn. “We will keep a very close eye on the situation,” he says. Nothing has been decided yet, he says. Christmas concerts and church services could possibly take place under 2G rules, outdoor events with 3G. The Archdiocese of Cologne provides the following information on behalf of the Catholic Church in Bonn: “As things stand, the legal recommendations and precautionary measures for church services in the Archdiocese of Cologne continue to apply.” The constant changes in circumstances due to Corona means there will always be updates at short notice, he says.

■ Bonn Carnival Festival Committee: Marlies Stockhorst, President of the Festival Committee, says, “The situation is difficult for all event organisers.” The festival committee will be discussing how to deal with the recommendations from the RKI in the next few days. A conference is also scheduled in a fortnight’s time with the North Rhine-Westphalia state authorities and the carnival associations from Cologne, Aachen and Düsseldorf to agree on how to proceed.

■ Opera and theatre: “We were waiting for information from the city authorities,” says Felicitas Weber from Theater Bonn. But nothing had been received, she says, which is why everything at the theatre and opera will remain as it is until Monday: 3G rules. This also applies for Hansel and Gretel, which has its première at the opera house on Saturday.

■ Ernst-Ludwig Hartz: Concert promoter Ernst-Ludwig Hartz has postponed almost all his shows to next year - he says that he will still hold two in 2021. “We are waiting to see how the situation develops,” he says. “2G is actually the only viable solution for clubs and event halls.” But vaccination certificates and identity cards must then be checked very carefully, he adds.

(Original text: Nina Bärschneider and Dennis Scherer, Translation: Caroline Kusch)