German and Swiss music festivals cancelled over pandemic

Seven of the most renowned German and Swiss summer music festivals have been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic, German concert promoters Eventim said Wednesday.

German and Swiss music festivals cancelled over pandemic
Fans at Rock am Ring in J une 2019. Photo: DPA

They include the iconic Rock am Ring at Nürburgring, one of Europe’s largest, the Hurricane festival in Scheessel and the Greenfield festival in Switzerland.

Promoters Eventim said festival organisers had decided to cancel due to “ongoing uncertainty about infection rates and mutations”. “2021 was supposed to a summer of reunions, and festival organisers have put a lot of time and work into hygiene concepts to make this possible,” said

Frithjof Pils, CEO of Eventim Live. However, the “epidemiological situation” and coronavirus restrictions meant “festivals of this magnitude are not yet feasible at present”.

READ ALSO: Eight online events in Germany not to miss in March 2021

Eventim added that festival ticket-holders for 2021 would be given “a convenient opportunity” to rebook for the following year.

Festivals like Rock am Ring and Hurricane are enormous events held at major motorsport venues which welcome tens of thousands of visitors every year.

Other major European festivals such as Glastonbury in southwest England have also been cancelled in recent months.

Concert halls and music venues have been closed for months in Germany due to the pandemic, and currently have little prospect of reopening in the next weeks.

Case numbers have been stagnating in recent days despite months of restrictions, with the seven-day incidence rate at 65.4 per 100,000 people on Wednesday, according to official figures.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”