The number of infections is increasing, but SPIEL'21 does not seem to be in danger. The Corona Ordinance clearly regulates: In municipalities with a warning level of 3 or lower, trade fair events can be carried out - provided there is a hygiene concept. Those who are immunized will hardly have any problems, everyone else will have to pay additional costs. 

The International Game Days 2021 will take place in Essen, which could be announced with a clear conscience in view of the pandemic situation in July: The number of new infections was low, the incidence in North Rhine-Westphalia was below 6 at the beginning of July.

Paid tests for unvaccinated people are coming

That has changed in the meantime: The increase in new infections within one week per 100.000 inhabitants is much faster this July than last year - and the holidays and schoolchildren in North Rhine-Westphalia are far from being cooped up in the classrooms. And the effects of returning travelers will probably still be felt. However, SPIEL'21 does not seem to be in danger: not from a legal point of view because the Corona Ordinance allows it to be carried out, and also from a purely organizational point of view because the organizing Friedhelm Merz Verlag ensures that the trade fair can also be held with a hygiene concept . Mask requirement and 3G rule are two of the cornerstones.

While the immunized, i.e. vaccinated or convalescent, can look forward to the game fair relatively relaxed, the situation for unvaccinated people has worsened significantly with the new federal-state resolutions. From August 23, testing is now compulsory for people without a corona vaccination with an incidence of 35 or more.Certain areas of public life will then only be accessible to those who have recovered, who have been vaccinated or who have been tested - specifically, this applies to events and celebrations, among other things. The compulsory test has already been planned, but now there are additional costs for those who have not been vaccinated.

SPIEL'21 will take place from October 14th to 17th, after the set date. From October 11th there will be no more free tests in Germany: Anyone who could have been vaccinated but decided against it, has to pay. In addition to the costs for an entrance ticket to SPIEL'21, which have already been accepted, there are additional costs - possibly plus travel and accommodation. Exceptions apply, of course, for those for whom a vaccination is not an option: minors, pregnant women or people with diseases or allergies that make vaccination impossible.

If the infection rate is low, the countries can now override the 3G rules. If you follow the experts, this cannot be assumed for autumn. If and what happens should the coronavirus numbers explode? That is currently unclear. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia recently suspended warning level 3, and the NRW coalition confirmed that they did not want a new lockdown. That can change, should what is currently expected change: Increasing numbers of infections, but less dramatic effects due to the widespread vaccination.

Nevertheless, some organizers and publishers have reacted to the new old Corona situation. Game events planned for autumn have been canceled, publishers are foregoing participation in trade fairs - for example Asmodee. Friedhelm Merz Verlag is confident about SPIEL'21, also due to a strict hygiene concept that requires children from the age of six to wear a mask.

There will be enough for visitors to see: around 500 exhibitors are taking part this year, and at the beginning of August the organizer announced around 1.000 new products for the international game days. Nevertheless, caution can be felt. For comparison: in 2019 around 1.200 exhibitors took part.

For all those who stayed at home, Spiel-digital will also take place in 2021 as an alternative. The publishers are already moving into their virtual booths there. The preparations are obviously in full swing.

One thing is clear: One would have wished SPIEL'21 differently this year and, given the at times relaxed situation in July, could have hoped for it. In the meantime, the corona situation is worsening again, but fans - as of now - do not have to fear the Essen game fair.

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