Spectators will continue to be allowed at sporting events in both Berlin and Hamburg after Christmas, despite recent developments in the Corona pandemic.
The Berlin Senate decided on Thursday to allow up to 3,000 outdoor spectators and 2,000 indoor spectators to enter the city from 28 December, according to Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) after a Senate meeting. The term of the regulation was extended until 22 January 2022.
The German champions Alba Berlin, Eisbären Berlin and BR Volleys can thus continue to play in front of spectators in their home halls after 28 December. “We have decided to proceed moderately here in consideration of the risks and protective measures,” said Giffey. The aim, she said, was to maintain activities in culture, sport or business as far as possible, albeit under restricted conditions. “We have come to the conclusion that this is still better than a complete cancellation.”
However, this does not only concern the basketball, handball or even volleyball clubs in the capital, but also the Bundesliga clubs Union and Hertha. The prerequisite in Berlin is a hygiene framework concept prescribed by the authorities, which provides for at least mechanical ventilation in closed rooms. In addition, such events must always take place according to 2G-plus rules: In other words, they are only open to vaccinated and recovered persons who must also have a current negative Corona test. Wearing an FFP2 mask is also mandatory.
The BR Volleys welcomed the measures and are looking forward to playing in front of spectators at the Max-Schmeling-Halle in the top match on 6 January against the powervolleys Düren. The Füchse Berlin do not play any home games after 28 December as the league is on break due to the European Handball Championship. The Bundesliga does not start its second half of the season until 7 January, the 2nd division a week later.
Special route also in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein
Federal and state governments had agreed on Tuesday that “supra-regional major events” must take place without spectators from 28 December at the latest. However, it was not defined what exactly falls under this term. But it is not only Berlin that is backing out, but also Hamburg.
In Hamburg, sports events with fewer than 5,000 participants may continue to take place in the open air and under 2G conditions. This is provided for in the new Corona Containment Ordinance of the Red-Green Senate, which was signed on Thursday afternoon, as the spokesman of the social authorities, Martin Helfrich, confirmed to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. This also applies to football stadiums. Accordingly, events with up to 2,500 participants are possible indoors under 2G rules, i.e. only for vaccinated and recovered persons.
To what extent the clubs will make use of the new rule was initially still unclear, and thus also whether a home game of the Hamburg Towers against the Giessen 46ers in the Basketball Bundesliga on Boxing Day and a handball game of HSV Hamburg against Bundesliga rival Bergischer HC one day later will take place in front of a crowd.
In Schleswig-Holstein, 1,000 spectators will still be allowed indoors and outdoors at major sporting events in future, which is of interest to the top handball clubs THW Kiel and SG Flensburg-Handewitt as well as second-division club Holstein Kiel. The regulation is valid until 18 January.