Red Alert In Germany: Events Industry Gears Up For Second Protest
Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images – German superstar Herbert Grönemeyer speaks at the demonstration “Existence crisis in the event industry” of the alliance #AlarmstufeRot in front of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Sept. 9.
A second protest for immediate financial aid for the events sector will take place Oct. 28.
Hardly any events since March, countless bankruptcies, tens of thousands of lost jobs: that’s how the European association of event venues EVVC has summed up the situation in Germany.
The EVVC used the announcement of the second mass demonstration of event professionals in Berlin, Oct. 28, to highlight the dire straits Germany’s event economy currently finds itself in.
Most companies working in live events haven’t seen any revenues since March, when the German government imposed restrictions on public life that effectively resulted in an employment ban for the events sector.
At the same time, there’s no perspective on when business might be allowed to open again, forcing a large amount of independent business owners to throw in the towel.
The only relief for those still operating is the option to delay the filing of their insolvency, which usually needs to happen in a timely manner, according to an EVVC statement.
The sector, which ranked as the sixth biggest industry in Germany at the time the country went into lockdown, isn’t demanding anything that goes agains “Corona safeguards,” according to the EVVC statement.
However, if this industry is supposed to survive, it needs concrete financial help that’s tailored to a sector that’s made up mostly of independently operating individuals.
The current aid packages announced by the German government don’t meed these requirements, the statement continues.
What is more, EVVC argues, since the events industry was the first to close and will be the last to reopen, which gives it a special role among all the industries that fell victim to Corona, it requires special help.
The association proceeds to explain why the current aid packages aren’t suitable to alleviate the sector’s problems. For one, of the €24.6 billion ($29 billion) made available for small and medium sized businesses, only €50,000 are accessible per business per month, which lies “far below” the losses many business owners have been incurring each month since March.
Many costs aren’t covered by the government programs, in particular they don’t recognize many self-employment scenarios and sole trades – in other words this sector’s backbone – at all.
Once successful, productive and tax-paying entrepreneurs are thereby forced into the government’s social security programs, according to EVVC.
Aside from the soloists and independent businesses that fall through the cracks of government bailout schemes, the big players in this industry also don’t qualify in many instances.
As EVVC lays out, companies employing more than 249 cannot access any funds at the moment. The fact that many of them, despite their size, don’t operate within corporate structures (yet), also excludes them from certain government programs.
The association hopes that the Oct. 28 protest in Berlin will attract even more than the first mass demonstration on Sept. 9, which saw 15,000 people working in the events sector descend on the German capital to demonstrate the importance of live for the well-being of society.