New rules: How to attend a concert during Covid

New rules: How to attend a concert during Covid


norman lebrecht

October 08, 2020

Patrons of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra have been issued with this set of rules:

We are very pleased to welcome you again on October 8th and 9th in the Herkulessaal of the Residenz. So that you can enjoy the concert despite the current circumstances, we are sending you the most important information about your visit.

1. Service
Please understand that, due to the hygiene requirements, we are unable to offer any catering, introductory events, box office or printed programs. The cloakroom is open as usual.

2. Information about the program
The choice is yours: you will find information on the works performed and the participants in a short program sheet and in a detailed digital program booklet.

3. Entering the hall
Please note the new admission time… 30 minutes before the start of the concert.

4. Seats
You will be given assigned seats that you must adhere to due to the distance regulations. We will be happy to help you find your seat on site. If you have to walk past someone while finding your seat, please do so back to back.

5. ID card
Your tickets are personalized. Please have your ID card ready at the entrance.

6. Minimum distance
The minimum distance of 1.5 m must be observed during the entire visit. 

7. Health comes first!
You are responsible for your own health – if you feel sick, you cannot attend our concerts. 

8. Hand washing
Please remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap or use the disinfectant dispenser on site in the foyer.

9. Cough and sneeze
Please note the recommended cough etiquette: Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.

10. Mouth and nose covering
Please enter and leave the hall wearing a face and nose covering. This can be removed at the seat.

11. Ventilation of the hall
The requirements for the ventilation of the venue have been met.

12. Find out more
Please inform yourself proactively about the current regulations before attending the concert, these can change at short notice.

13. Transfer tickets
Tickets are transferable in exceptional cases … The relevant form and further information can be found here.

14. Late arrivals
Guests arriving late can, if necessary, be placed in the back rows at free spaces on the edge, provided the minimum distance is observed. If the compliance with the minimum distance is not guaranteed, because all of the peripheral seats are occupied, guests arriving late cannot be admitted to the event. In this case, too, there is no entitlement to reimbursement of the entrance fee.

15. Failure to comply with hygiene rules
People who cannot comply with the hygiene rules mentioned above are not allowed to attend the event. In this case, too, there is no entitlement to reimbursement of the entrance fee.

Well, that’s entertainment.


  • CarlD says:

    I have no problem with these guidelines, which seem similar to those of Florida Orchestra in St. Petersburg, where I hope to attend an upcoming concert or two this winter. To view the Florida Orchestra’s guidelines:

  • Alexander Hall says:

    At least they have something to offer their audiences. Wake up, Southbank and Barbican! What Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and many other places can do, so can you. If you can be bothered, that is.

    • The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber says:

      Once more, for the hard of thinking:

      – German orchestras receive sufficient government subsidy that getting on for 80% of their costs are covered.

      – for British orchestras, even the best-funded of them get around 20-25%.

      – that means German orchestras can afford to run concerts at the 25% audience capacity required to maintain distancing.

      – that not the case for British orchestras, who need at least 70% occupancy to avoid financial ruin.

      If British orchestras run concerts at 25% capacity without a four-fold increase in government assistance, then they will be bankrupt in a matter of months. So it’s not a question of “if they can be bothered”; they can’t do it until they are given the financial means to do so. It’s that simple.

      • Alexander Hall says:

        Sorry, but that’s not the case in the regions so it’s misleading to speak of British orchestras as a whole. The CBSO will be staging concerts with socially distanced audiences and the Bournemouth Symphony is already live-streaming concerts in front of its own reduced audiences. I singled out the Southbank and the Barbican precisely because they are not making much of an effort when they could have been leading the field. If Wigmore Hall can successfully mount recitals and chamber concerts with much smaller audiences than usual now present, why is it beyond the overpaid administrators (unlike our musicians!) in London’s major concert venues to plot an intelligent course through the trough of despond?

        • Anonymous says:

          Believe the LSO is returning to the Barbican in December. Yet still giving weekly streamed concerts on YouTube. It’s still very harsh out there for musicians.

    • Anon says:

      The Barbican is open and putting on live concerts in front of an audience. The SBC has opened the Hayward and is being admirably open about not being able to afford to put on music because their subsidy only pays for the buildings.

      And Germany has a competent government.

    • Maria says:

      That’s very unfair. You should know the whole funding system is different, the hiring of halls and thd hiring of reluctant staff where the virus had quadrupled in London. You can’t compare the culture of any British or Irish venue or musical. organisation with Germany.

    • Art Rosen says:

      Dear Alexander Hall, have you booked for any of the live audience or streamed performances that the Barbican have released this autumn?

  • SVM says:

    Most of these regulations sound reasonable (obviously, we are not being shown the German text here), but I am troubled by item 2.

    Specifically, the option of a “detailed digital program booklet” sounds like a licence to make active use of electronic devices and tablets during the concert, thus creating unacceptable glare and distraction to performers and other audience members.

    Also, item 9 could be more strongly worded. I would recommend: “Do not attend the concert if you are likely to cough or sneeze. If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself about to cough or sneeze, do so into the crook of your arm, in order to muffle the sound and reduce aerosol transmission.”.

    Finally, I am unclear as to why it is considered safer to demand an ID card than a paper ticket. And, whilst I find touting abhorrent, I think it should be allowable to transfer tickets as long as no money changes hands (i.e.: the person receiving the ticket does not pay any money to the person giving the ticket).

    • Bill says:

      The tickets change hands, but the ID card doesn’t have to.

    • Tom Hase says:

      You seem to be misreading some of the rules. Of course electronic devices are not allowed during the concert. Why would you read the programme during the concert? At least in Germany that is an absolute no go and considered disrespectful. Read the programme before the concert or in the break!

      Also, the ID cards have to be checked to facilitate tracing in case one of the attendees happens to be infected with Covid – in Germany, unlike the UK, we are still in the situation that every single contact of every single Covid case gets traced.

    • psq says:

      One needs to give your name and contact info when one buys the ticket, hence the ticket is “personalised”, i.e., the personal info is attached to that ticket. This is for contact tracing when/if it becomes necessary. The checking of the ID is just to ensure the ticket holder at the door is the same person that corresponds to the personal info given.

    • Luke says:

      On the ID card, I would assume they are requiring it in case contact tracing should be required, rather than being concerned about ticket resales per se.

    • Andreas B. says:

      Re ID card / transferable ticket:

      these measures are required at the moment by government health regulations, in order to facilitate an effective ‘track and trace’ regimen.
      (One is also required to provide contact details at pubs and restaurants for the same reason)

    • Ben says:

      This isn’t about touting. ID cards are the most commonly used proof of address in Germany; they are required for contact tracing. Of course it is possible to transfer tickets, but the new ticket holder’s name and address will need to be registered with the concert promoter in order to allow for contact tracing in case someone in the audience is diagnosed with COVID-19 a few days later.

  • IntBaritone says:

    How to attend a concert during COVID: Please don’t.

  • Doc Martin says:

    As a retired GP I have a problem with points 9-11.

    Please could those attending concerts and organisers read Nick Wilson’s monograph on aerosol transmission of Sars-cov-2.

    It is certainly not recommended to cough or sneeze without a mask indoors into one’s sleeve. Whoever thought that one up should be sacked.

    When indoors it is essential to wear a mask, triple layered rather than those designer cloth ones I see folk wearing. A n 95 mask would be even better. Masks should remain on for the full duration which I know folk will moan about especially if its Bruckner 8! Do not remove the mask until you are well outside away from any crowds.

    A study in Florida has shown aerosol transmission of Sars-cov-2 can occur to to 5m! Hence a mask is essential indoors even with the minimum 1.5m SD in place.

    Ventilation and air conditioning these need regular maintenance and testing. Personally when staying in hotels, pre-covid -19 I always used to turn it off and open the windows!

    9. Cough and sneeze
    Please note the recommended cough etiquette: Cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm. (Bad advice).

    10. Mouth and nose covering
    Please enter and leave the hall wearing a face and nose covering. This can be removed at the seat. (Bad advice).

    11. Ventilation of the hall
    The requirements for the ventilation of the venue have been met. (This seems a vague statement, I would need evidence.)

    Personally I would not attend any live concerts at the moment, not just because of Covid-19, the travel from Ireland, is now getting ridiculously expensive and complicated, my garden needs attention, and my Gardenias need to be put in a safe place for over wintering. I am awaiting the arrival of some rare apple trees mid November for planting.

    In any case I have plenty of CDs, DVDs VHS, LPs and old 78s to keep me in music to the next millennium.

  • Doc Martin says:

    The Covid cube is a fiendishly hard puzzle to solve In UK, we have a virus that 90% of people have not yet had. Of the 10% who have, many don’t realise it. Just 20% of people may account for 80% of the spread.

    The vast majority are not harmed, but the unlucky few, elderly, immunocompromised suffer lung and heart damage, pulmonary embolism, clots, strokes, extreme fatigue and death. The recent setting up of long term covid-19 clinics is encouraging as many patients report multiple issues long after “recovery”.

    We need a ruthlessly efficient test and trace system that tests frontline health and care staff every week. At present, UK has the highest Covid-19 death toll, the highest non-covid-19 death toll and the biggest educational and economic hit in Europe. So who to blame? Bojo et al and Andrew Lansley the worst health secretary ever, for Public Health England soon to be renamed!

    Listen to page 94 podcast in Private Eye. MD is on the ball.

    (Doc Martin is a retired GP, based in Belfast, amateur composer and Irish harpist).

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Seems eminently reasonable to me. It even allows removal of masks for the concert. Of course, concerts with full audiences are the ideal, but in the meantime, these rules could be a template for most places not experiencing a particularly severe outbreak or resurgence of infections.

  • Arthur says:

    Who wants to go to a concert under these circumstances? Anybody? Anybody?

    A few die-hards from the pocket scores crowd?


  • Zenaida says:

    In Berlin, the regulations are pretty much the same. I have now attended all three premieres within the last 10 days and the public has been very good at complying with the regulations. Interestingly, the public was asked to wear masks throughout Walküre + intermissions = about 6 hours in total! Also at the Staatsoper (only a 90 minute piece by Luca Francesconi) but not at the Komische Oper (Pierrot Lunaire). And yes, those attending are ever so happy to be able to attend a live performance again!

  • Marg says:

    These are the same as regulations in place for the concerts now being held in Sydney, Australia. OK as long as the daily infection rate is extremely low (like, under 10 a day).

  • Darrell says:

    Now you can go to a concert and to the circus for the same price and in the same place.