German researchers suggest possible return to full capacity at classical concerts; organization’s leaders balk, urge caution

Posted on: August 21, 2020

“As classical music halls begin to reopen their doors in Germany, orchestras have been playing to largely empty concert halls to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” writes Eve Bennett in Monday’s (8/17) The Local (Germany).  “But according to new recommendations published by leading epidemiologists at the Charité Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology and for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, however, classical concerts held at full-capacity may be possible. In a statement given to the broadcaster RBB (Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg), the Institute suggested that all seats could be occupied, provided that every audience member wears a face covering…. However, the Executive Board of the Charité distanced itself from the published paper… ‘It does not reflect the position of the Charité Executive Board. The proposals do not consider current trends in infection rates and the risks associated with this. The paper is therefore not to be seen as a proposal for action, but rather as the basis for further critical discussion within the framework of the Berlin testing strategy.’ Berlin Senator for Culture, Klaus Lederer, also expressed his surprise at the announcement…. There are around 2,200 seats available for [Berliner Philharmonic] concerts until the end of October, around 25 percent of normal capacity.”