Blanket ban on events with more than 1,000 participants
On Wednesday 11th March, the state capital imposed a so-called general decree in which major events with more than 1,000 participants – who are all present simultaneously – are banned as a matter of principle. The general decree is initially limited until Wednesday 22nd April, but can be extended should the situation require this. The authorities are currently deliberating internally with regard to events with less than 1,000 participants. The result will be announced separately.
Original version of the decree (German language)
The general decree describes events as follows: "Events within the meaning of the general decree are events limited to a certain time and planned at which a group of people participate and for whom the event has a defined goal and a programme sequence, binding as regards subject and contents, and which is organised by one or more persons. The ongoing operation of educational establishments, public authorities and the courts as well as that of places of work in which only the people employed there are present are not events within the meaning of this general decree.”
The purpose of the ban on major events with more than 1,000 participants is to reduce the anticipated spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2), both as regards time and area, and in the present situation, to separate the infection in particular from the persistent wave of influenza. A slowdown in the spread has the advantage that claims are made on the system of medical care over a longer period of time, so that the burden placed on the system at any one time is lower and excessive pressure on the system is avoided. Moreover, the ban is intended to protect particularly vulnerable groups of people (for example, people with previous illness or whose immune system is already weakened) from becoming infected with the Corona Virus.
It is assumed that in the case of events with more than 1,000 participants the following factors are more favourable to the continued spread of COVID-19 than events with fewer participants: more participants can come into closer proximity to each other at large events than at smaller events. Since more people from adjacent areas, from other German states or from abroad visit the event, the spread of COVID-19 over a wider area becomes more likely. That has implications both for a possible spread of illnesses in the immediate area but also for a spread beyond this area. Tracing the contacts and the resulting containment measures - and that means measures intended to limit the continued spread of the virus – would be impossible or become considerably more difficult should a participant subsequently be tested positive for the virus. It will also become more likely that people whose protection is particularly important, for example, those involved with medical care, the local health service as well as internal security and public order, are amongst the participants. The same applies to people at risk, at least to older people. Hygiene measures that limit the risk of the spread COVID-19 are unable to reduce the risks sufficiently at events of this size.
Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 7.27 pm