Berlin cracks down on concertgoers

Berlin cracks down on concertgoers


norman lebrecht

November 15, 2021

From today, only people who are fully vaccinated or recently recovered  from Covid-19 with EU digital certificates will be admitted to public performances at the Philharmonie Berlin and other arts venues.

Masks remain mandatory for audiences throughout the buildings and the performances.

The new rules will apply until 28 November 2021.

Berlin is undergoing a heavy Covid fourth wave.



  • ken says:

    Get your shots, folks !

  • bet says:

    Just cut off free medical care for unvaccinated people.

    40% of the German population refuse to be vaccinated, so just let evolution take its course, let the intelligent genes get passed on to the next generation.

    • Linda Crust says:

      After 2 years of the deadliest pandemic in history it is amazing that these unvaccinated people are still alive…

    • Brettermeier says:

      “40% of the German population refuse to be vaccinated”

      Germany has a population of ~83 million. ~58 million of them got one shot (70%). ~56 million are fully vaccinated (67%). ~13 million (15.6%) are under 18 and weren’t eligible for a shot until recently. Not sure where your 40% comes from, but I suppose we could be doing much worse.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        The problem with the vaccine is that it needs to be re-applied roughly every 200 days. It has a short-term efficacy. I’m having a third in February, meaning 3 in just 8 months. This is unsustainable from an economic perspective in any country at all.

        We have to have a price point on these vaccinations or this will badly affect nations’ financial health, ironically enough.

        • Brettermeier says:

          “I’m having a third in February, meaning 3 in just 8 months. This is unsustainable from an economic perspective in any country at all.”

          That’s just silly. I assume you somehow find the time to get your hair cut? Because hair stylists’ appointments are totally unsustainable from an economic perspective. And it’s just optics, after all. N’est-ce pas?

    • La plus belle voix says:

      Fact check: As of 15 November 2021, 67.5% of the entire population are fully vaccinated, 70.1% have received a first dose. Of the 83 million population, 10.5 million are aged 1-13.

      Refusing free medical care for the unvaccinated would be a) unconstitutional (against the Grundgesetz) and unlawful in terms of State Health Insurance, frustrating as that is to the Germans probably.

    • Curvy Honk Glove says:

      That’s right! Those who cannot or will not comply should be excised from humanity like the cancer they are. Those of us in polite society simply should not have to tolerate the problem of the unvaxxed. Good riddance to the lot of them. It is long overdue for a government to implement your solution, bet.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        What a hideous comment. “Polite society”? There is no such thing.

        I don’t remember vaccine refusers with Polio or Smallpox. In fact, you couldn’t travel in the 1970s without the latter.

    • violinist says:

      Cancel free medical care? Beside the fact that this would be unconstitutional…
      What you talking about?
      There is no free medical care in Germany.
      Normal working and tax paying citizens have to pay exorbitant monthly fees for health insurance.

      I agree about the Darwinism though but think its much too early to say who will prevail at the end.

      • Andreas B. says:

        as a “normal working and tax paying citizen” I don’t think seven and a half percent of my monthly gross salary is “exorbitant” for access to sick pay and a very good health care system.

        imho, a sensible investment, even if I might never have to use it – I can live my life free of having to worry about being bankrupted by a relatively minor health problem.

        also, I do like living in a society that doesn’t deny necessary assistance even to its economically weaker members.

    • Karl says:

      Don’t forget to take away medical care for smokers and overweight people too.

    • Tamino says:

      You quote grossly wrong numbers.
      Vacccination is only allowed for folks older than 12.
      80% of those are vaccinated in Germany.
      86% of those in the actual risk group above 60 are vaccinated.
      Some can‘t get the vaccine for various reasons.
      Those who actually refuse the vaccine, or don’t care, are about 10%, in some states 15%.
      Don’t hyperventilate.

    • Gustavo says:

      “let the intelligent genes get passed on to the next generation”

      Unfortunately, there is also strong selection acting on behavioural traits and basal instincts that secure reproduction and survival (sex-drive, hunger, greed etc.).

      That is the dilemma of Homo sapience – nothing else than a maladapted primate facing extinction.

      The whole Corona pan(dem)ic is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • Maria says:

    Great! At last – and in Liverpool also to see Glyndebourne Touring on 1-4 December – some reward for having been jabbed with 3 x Covid, 1 x flu, and 1 x pneumonia! London, Birmingham and Nottingham the lowest vaccinated in the UK and Ireland. Not fool proof, and there are those who genuinely can’t be jabbed but not the same as just won’t. Those in the UK and Ireland should, and not then get a big surprise when they end up with others unvaccibated and fighting for their lives in intensive care! Same who don’t mind having 12-14 to go on a Safari in Africa!

  • John Borstlap says:

    If more efforts would be put into ventilation, such strict measures would not be necessary, since it is airborne transmission which spreads the virus through aerosols.

    • Jack says:

      Oh John, you should notify the authorities immediately. I didn’t realize that you were an epidemiologist as well as a composer. Call them right away! Now!!

  • Karl says:

    All but one concert hall here in the US asked for a vax card. We are still having a massive increase in covid.

  • guglhupf says:

    Berlin isn’t cracking down on concert halls or art venues specifically. As of today you have to prove full vaccination or recovery to eat inside at any restaurant or participate in any indoor activity (gyms, yoga, professional meetings, libraries, etc). Children or those who are unable to be vaccinated for a (limited) list of medical reasons are not included in the ban. Only schools are exempt from it. And the other commenters are correct, Germany’s vaccine level and Berlin’s in particular is just shy of 70% fully vaccinated. Delta is sadly a very opportunistic Covid variant.

    • Lausitzer says:

      “Only” the schools… the decision to allow the lower grade classes to operate without any protection measures whatsoever now backfires badly. In a suburb of Berlin the local health authorities already closed a school building to any access. They had no other choice because teachers just did not care for the “little colds” anymore.

      And Robert-Koch-Institut meanwhile recommends for everyone to limit gatherings. It is just again plain politics to avoid, at almost any price, restrictions for vaccinated people. For obvious reasons, of course.

  • Ernest says:

    For those who are vaccinated outside the EU, would they still be welcome in Berlin concert halls and opera houses?

    • guglhupf says:

      if the vaccine used is on the list of vaccines approved in the EU, yes.

    • Akutagawa says:

      I was vaccinated in the UK, and my NHS Covid travel pass was recognised everywhere I went in Germany last month, so my answer would be that as long as the country you got vaccinated in has a reciprocal acceptance arrangement with the EU, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

    • Inaustria says:

      To my knowledge it depends on the vaccine that they received. The Russian and Chinese vaccines arent being recognized in Austria.

    • Lausitzer says:

      Unless there have been changes that escaped me: For such official purposes only vaccines with EU authorization are acknowledged. Which, if I do not overlook something, at present are Astra Zeneca, Johnson&Johnson, Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna. Everything else (Sputnik, Sinovac, whatever) counts nothing at all, you would have to start from zero, with a full new vaccination series.

      And I would not use terms like “welcome” (or not) in this regard. These are official emergency measures, and they result rather from panic than from thorough consideration.

    • Achim Mentzel says:

      No, the EU does not accept so far for example the Russian Sputnik vaccine.

  • violinist says:

    Not a logical decision if you look at all the numbers

    There have been several surveys showing that there is almost zero chance to get infected at a concert hall. As far as I know there is also not one verified case of covid transmission during concert in Germany.
    Just lately they analysed the data of the Luca-app (the German covid contact warn app) and found out that only 0.9% of the warnings were related to cultural institutions like theatres, concert halls and museums (together in total!)
    Based on this – what exactly is the logical or moral reason to exclude healthy people (who did stay healthy since corona started!) And who would be willing to proof this with a test taken right before the concert?

    Where is the logic in letting vaccinated people in without a test while it’s known that there are many cases of vaccinated people getting infected, sick and hospitalized? (during last four weeks from all symptomatic cases age >60 more than 60% were fully vaccinated – RKI)
    Just today I’ve read about a well-known German politician who got covid even after his 3rd jab…

    IMO the only correct, fair and non-discriminating way would be to open for all but ask every guest to test right before the concert.

  • Bim says:

    If Germany and Austria had implemented mask wearing from early 2020 this might not be the case ! ..oh wait a minute they did ! am I missing something here? Does this not prove wearing a muzzle makes no difference? Wear a muzzle we lock down..don’t wear a muzzle we lock down..hmmmm….Should be your own choice .

    • Bill says:

      No, it doesn’t prove that. Neither vaccines nor masking nor prior infection provide 100% protection. Any other questions?

  • Tamino says:

    Asking for (only) vaccination at a time when the efficiency of the vaccines is waning drastically (after a few months) is paradox and unscientific nonsense.
    Being vaccinated 6 months ago is like being unvaccinated now.
    Stop the madness.

    • Symphony musician says:

      Tamino, saying that waning vaccine efficiency means that to be vaccinated is like being unvaccinated is, to use your own words “unscientific nonsense”. The general prevalence of scientific illiteracy is genuinely alarming.

      • Tamino says:

        Read about it. Educate yourself. Google for instance the recent Swedish study.
        AstraZeneca vaccine protection is literally non existant after 6 months. BioNTech is a little bit better, but not much.
        2G is ideological idiotic nonsense.

  • psq says:

    “cracks down” is the wrong way to describe the change in the rules for admitting concert goers into all the different venues. The “cracking down” has been going on ever since concert venues reopened after the strict lock down

    Ever since the opening up of venues for concerts circa August, concert goers must show either one of the following three “certificates”:
    (1) certificate of a double vaccinations;
    (2) certificate of having recovered from Covid;
    (3) a same-day negative quick test certificate.

    What has changed is the dropping of (3) from above. Until yesterday someone who remained unvaccinated could still be admitted if he/she brought a negative quick test result. But not any more

  • anon says:

    There is no compelling statistically significant evidence that vaccinated people are any less likely to spread COVID-19 than unvaccinated people. If anything, there is some evidence suggesting that a vaccinated person may be statistically more likely to get COVID-19. And if these vaccines work as promised, a vaccinated person who catches COVID-19 should be more likely to be asymptomatic (and therefore could be less likely to realise he is infectious).

    In other words, this medical apartheid is epidemiologically futile and ethically bankrupt. The focus should be on improving ventilation (as someone else has said already), admonishing people with a serious and persistent cough (that is, people with symptoms of a respiratory infection) to stay at home, and increasing hospital capacity (because COVID-19 is not the first and will not be the last pandemic).

  • psq says:

    The rule of keeping the masks on inside the building and during the concert has not changed.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Good, surprised this didn’t occur long ago.

  • Inaustria says:

    Since yesterday vaccinated people need to additionally present a negative PCR test to be admitted to any event (museum etc) where more than 25 people are present. Same for restaurants. Unvaccinated people are banned, test or not. Im skeptical as to how Austria will be able to handle the enormous amount of testing suddenly needed.

    • Gus says:

      This is so sad and I wonder how this will affect the ski season. I love to ski the Paznaun valley, stay in Galtur, and ski there, Kappel, See and the Covid hotspot of 2 years ago, Ischgl from whence skiers took the virus back to their own countries. If commenters haven’t been and enjoy the Austrian vibe, I would highly recommend it. The resorts are high, better snow than St Anton, varied and brilliant skiing.

  • Gustavo says:

    John Williams’ Berlin concerts were carried out and recorded.

    What else do we need to survive the winter?

    • Tamino says:

      Oh please. Has been done in Vienna already with great success. How many times can you repeat the same thing?
      I heard Berlin Phil didn‘t even want him, they don’t do film composers, only for open air concerts, but after they saw the Vienna magic, they changed their minds.
      Now some of John Williams less popular concert music could be interesting to get through he winter, but that doesn‘t sell to the masses I suppose.