Last update: 14th December 2021
Last update: 14th December 2021
Politics and administration have developed a variety of support measures at federal level as well as in individual federal states and in municipalities. These measures consist of a set of direct financial benefits (grants, loans), indirect financial benefits (tax relief) and changes in access rights and grant provisions. There are general and culture-specific instruments. Civil society also supports creative artists and cultural institutions with donations and funds. In the following text, the measures taken by the federal level will be presented. To illustrate the variety of measures by the federal states selected measures are shown.
The programme was launched in summer 2020 by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media – with an original budget of 1 billion EUR. This budget was increased in February 2021 to a total of 2 billion EUR. The more than 60 individual programmes are implemented through 40 cultural associations and funds.
In the first programme phase, the focus of funding was on: a) pandemic-related investments (up to 250 million EUR), b) maintaining and strengthening cultural infrastructure and emergency aid (up to 480 million EUR), c) promoting alternative, including digital, offerings (up to 150 million EUR) and d) supporting federally funded institutions and projects (up to 100 million EUR).
The second project phase included 3 key areas: a) pandemic-related investments (100 million EUR), b) preservation and strengthening of cultural production and mediation (800 million EUR) – within this pillar was a focus on scholarship programmes to support artists, c) support for federally funded institutions and projects (100 million EUR). The programme includes both cross-sectoral funding and sector-specific funding for museums, dance, theatre, literature, visual arts, music, memorial sites, libraries, socio-culture, and film. The funds can be used until the end of 2022. (https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/bundesregierung/bundeskanzleramt/staatsministerin-fuer-kultur-und-medien/milliardenhilfen-fuer-kultur-und-medien-1850938)
The fund was launched in summer 2021 and has a volume of 2.5 billion EUR. Responsibility for the fund lies with the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. The special fund supports the resumption and planning of cultural events with two central components: a) The economic efficiency aid grants a subsidy on the income from ticket sales if fewer tickets can be sold for reasons of infection control, b) With the cancellation insurance, the special fund assumes most of the cancellation costs in the event of COVID-19 related cancellations, partial cancellations or postponements for eligible events. (https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/bundesregierung/bundeskanzleramt/staatsministerin-fuer-kultur-und-medien/corona-hilfen)
Due to the cultural sovereignty of the federal states, which is anchored in the German constitution, the responsibility for culture, and thus also the measures to support it, lies within the federal states. They complement the federal government’s support measures. Each of the 16 federal states has launched their own measures. A large number of those programmes are already completed, while a few are still available. This sub-chapter is only for illustrating the variety of measures at the different federal states.
On March 13 2020, the first federal states (e.g. Schleswig-Holstein) prohibited all public events effective immediately. This also applied to theatres, cinemas, museums, adult education centres, libraries, clubs, etc. After other federal states (including Bavaria, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate) and municipalities followed, the federal government decided on a hard lockdown effective from March 22.
At the end of April, a first easing of the lockdown took place: On April 20, shops up to 800 square metres were allowed to reopen, as well as bookstores that were previously closed in 14 of the 16 federal states. University libraries and archives were also allowed to open again. At that time, the first museums and memorials were also reopened.
On May 6 the federal and state governments decided on a further easing of the lockdown. They also agreed to strengthen the role of the federal state governments in combating the pandemic: The federal states were to decide on the gradual opening of public life under their own responsibility while taking into account regional trends in COVID-19 infection numbers. So each federal state set its own regulations, including those for cultural institutions. In North-Rhine-Westphalia for example, on May 11 open-air concerts were allowed to take place and music schools could be reopened; on May 30 cinemas and theatres were allowed to open (with special hygiene and social distancing guidelines). At the end of May, the phase of openings for the cultural sector began in all federal states.
After a prolonged period of low incidence levels during the summer months, the second wave of the pandemic began in September / October. On October 14, the federal government and the federal states’ governments agreed on new joint rules to contain the pandemic. The first federal states cancelled the Christmas markets.
On October 28 2020, the federal and state governments decided on a partial lockdown. From November 2, social contacts were to be limited to two households, the catering and tourism industries were required to close for the entire month of November, as well as cultural institutions. Schools, commerce and business, on the other hand, were to be kept running. On November 2, public life in Germany would be shut down in large parts. Cultural and leisure facilities as well as restaurants and hotels would have to close initially until the end of November. On November 25, the federal and state governments decided to extend and tighten the partial lockdown, which initially ran until the end of November. On December 2, the partial lockdown was extended until January 10 by the federal and federal states’ governments. After some federal states (e.g. Saxony) announced a hard lockdown, the federal and federal states’ governments agreed on a hard lockdown from December 16 to January 10. Similarly to the spring, schools, day-care centres and most businesses were closed.
December 27 was the nationwide start for vaccinations.
In January 2021, the federal and federal states’ governments agreed twice (January 5 + 19) to tighten the hard lockdown, which was also extended until February 14.
On February 10, the lockdown in Germany was extended until March 7. Schools and day-care centres could open earlier at the discretion of the federal states (e.g., in Saxony on February 15).
Although there was the first easing of restrictions at the beginning of March, and bookstores were allowed to open again from March 8, the 3rd wave began almost immediately. On March 3, the federal and federal states’ governments agreed to extend the lockdown until March 28, while also committing to an opening schedule.
On April 24, the federal COVID-19 emergency brake went into effect. The central content: that if a county or a county-free city exceeded an incidence of 100 on three consecutive days, additional, uniform federal measures would be applied there from the following day. This also had significant consequences for the cultural sector: theatres, operas, concert halls, music clubs, museums, memorials had to remain closed. This also applied to cinemas, with the exception of drive-in theatres. (Individual stores could remain open, including bookstores).
On May 9, a new regulation went into effect that for the first time provided relief for those who were vaccinated and those who had recovered.
Depending on the regional development of the incidence figures, there were different easing of restrictions in the various regions in May and June. The federal emergency brake expired at the end of June.
In July, large events – in the fields of sport and culture – were allowed again.
This period was marked by discussions about the introduction of the so-called 3 G rules (geimpft, genesenoder, getestet – vaccinated, recovered or tested) and the 2 G rules (geimpft oder genesen–vaccinated or recovered), respectively; the latter imposing numerous restrictions on unvaccinated individuals. On August 23, the 3 G rules came into force: With an incidence above 35, indoor areas including cultural institutions were only accessible to those who had been vaccinated, recovered, or tested. Just one day later, the first federal state (Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg) started to implement the 2 G rules. After that, cultural institutions (and restaurants) were allowed to open under lower COVID-19 requirements, provided that only vaccinated and recovered people were allowed to enter. Unvaccinated people would then also no longer be allowed to attend with a negative test result. Other federal states followed (as e.g. Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia) during the following weeks.
The incidence figures started to rise again very sharply, especially in the southern federal states. On November 22, in the first federal state (Saxony) a new partial shutdown came into effect, thus restricting large parts of public life and all cultural institutions had to close again.
Other federal states (e.g. Thuringa) implemented the so called 2 G + rules (geimpft oder genesen sowie getestet – vaccinated or recovered AND tested) for parts of social and cultural life, for instance access to clubs or discos or singing in choirs. Other federal states still follow the 3 G rules.
On December 2 the caretaker federal government, the future government and the federal states agreed on nationwide restrictions for the unvaccinated. These include contact restrictions, for example. Access to retail outlets, cinemas or restaurants will also be restricted. It was also decided that vaccinations would be compulsory for all employees in hospitals and care facilities.