In a few weeks, from October 6th to 9th, SPIEL'22 will take place in Essen: The hygiene concept is already in place. The organizing Friedhelm Merz Verlag relies, among other things, on a strict mask requirement in the exhibition halls and is therefore taking a much stricter approach than the organizer would have to under the current regulations. It's the right decision - and time will tell. A comment.

With a look at the 187th Wiesn in Munich, which has now opened, one might think that Corona is long history. On the Theresienwiese and in the tents, people celebrate as if the pandemic had never happened. And today it's celebrated as if the Corona autumn wave wouldn't exist tomorrow. However, it is already sending the first harbingers.  

Corona: Autumn wave is imminent

An Oktoberfest without tests and without masks - it seems like a joke, but it's meant seriously. It is the Corona numbers in Bavaria, of all things, that should have taught the organizers better. Seven out of ten districts with a seven-day incidence of over 500 are in Bavaria. There you will also find the only two municipalities nationwide that have an incidence of over 1.000. Coincidence? Hardly, because in the district of Kelheim and in the independent city of Rosenheim there was a proper celebration recently: "Gillamoos" and the "Autumn Festival" were tempting. 

The corona autumn will be different thanks to the vaccinations, but there will be infections. Also due to relaxed regulations at festivals, celebrations and events. Experts assume that the numbers will increase. And the trend is already on the horizon. Only NRW is currently in the red in terms of incidence on a weekly basis. The situation is becoming more dynamic again, and the statistics of the Robert Koch Institute are currently showing the strongest increase since mid-July. The R-value is currently above 1, which is also an indication of the upward momentum and the approaching autumn wave. The seven-day incidence appears to have bottomed out, the curve is now suggesting an uptrend. 

And right in the middle of it all, the interior event season is kicking off. Where you were well enough protected against infection in the open air at events without compulsory testing and masks, the situation is completely different in closed rooms. Against this background, Friedhelm Merz Verlag's decision to wear masks is not only understandable, but wise. As organizers, the people of Bonn are under pressure to ensure safety as one of the first major autumn trade fairs - among exhibitors, employees and visitors. Because politicians only recently created the instruments with the adapted Infection Protection Act, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will initially react to the situation - little preventively. But that's exactly what Friedhelm Merz Verlag is doing - trade fair guests will thank the organizers in the end, they just don't know it yet. 

With all the immunity that is now widespread, one important fact should not be ignored: even if the corona variants now ensure milder courses, the sheer number of new infections could cause problems. The current statistics could set the wrong track: for the first time in a year, the number of active infections was registered at less than 600.000. At the same time, the following applies: In previous years, the autumn wave only started in this country with significantly fewer active infections. For comparison: Last year there were almost 130.000 active infections in the autumn, the year before there were less than 20.000. The Corona season starts this year with currently just over 610.000 active people. It shows how essential precautionary measures continue to be to protect yourself, your fellow human beings and, above all, the vulnerable groups.

Already in the last year there was some criticism of the much stricter corona rules at SPIEL'22 at the time, but in the end the measures proved to be correct and sensible, despite some comfort restrictions. Even if it sometimes makes a different impression: The majority of the players had also in the past year with the hygiene measures arranged and had a positive attitude towards the entry rules. 

It's a lot easier this year: If you're sick, stay at home. Anyone who is not sick wears a mask. 

Information and background information about SPIEL'22 in Essen is always available at or on the Friedhelm-Merz-Verlag website:

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