Rules for starting up again

Monday, 20.09.2021

The rules enabling us to open up are on everyone’s lips, but a bolder approach was needed at an earlier stage. The opportunity has been lost now for 2021.

David Friedrich-Schmidt, Head of Projects & Administration, German Neurological Society
Photo: Christian Staaden

Late-summer brooding. After 18 months of being closed, clubs and discotheques in Berlin are now open again to the vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid – without a mask, without social distancing, almost like it used to be. That’s great, of course, because the city has a party and club culture like no other in Germany – and also because the risk of being infected with or suffering seriously from Covid is much lower for those people and therefore pretty manageable.

Our convention would have taken place in November, with a new hybrid concept and offering more time for networking and focusing on the essentials. With 3,000 attendees instead of the usual 6,000, it would still have been profitable despite the restrictions introduced because of the pandemic. Everyone would have had to be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid. We would have also required a negative test result on the day. It would have been as safe as it could possibly be. But maybe you’ve noticed a little too much conditional tense in this paragraph? Yes, I’m afraid so. In May we cancelled the convention and decided to go back into digital exile. The health authorities were unable to approve the event, citing the recent German legislation designed to protect against infection.

To plan a major event with large numbers of exhibitors and service providers, you need a degree of certainty. At some point, you need to know what’s around the corner in order to proceed, not just what’s on the road directly ahead of you. In this situation, courage is required not just from event organisers but also, and particularly, from politicians. I am convinced that the rules requiring people to be vaccinated or have recovered would have enabled many more large events to have taken place this autumn and winter. The application of the rules has been hesitant and restricted to certain German federal states, which doesn’t help us any further this year. We’ve missed the boat, and that annoys me.

So, what helps when you are annoyed? Dancing maybe … and then my final column of the year will be a firework of positive energy and cheerfulness. That’s a promise!

David Friedrich-Schmidt

David Friedrich-Schmidt