The show was billed as a celebration of the return to live music at major venues in Germany. But a spike in virus cases, and a subsequent decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel to extend the ban on large-scale public events to 2021, have spoiled those plans for now. New measures imposed by the German government include mandatory use of masks in most public areas and fines for violators.
“Despite a comprehensive health, hygiene, and safety program, organizers felt compelled to cancel the event in view of the increasing number of infections and subsequent capacity restrictions that were imposed on the event,” the arena says in the statement.
Daily infection numbers in Germany in recent weeks have risen to levels not seen since the end of April. North Rhine-Westphalia, the state where Düsseldorf is located, reported 1,888 new cases over the last seven days, the second-highest number of any German state other than Bavaria. The state’s incidence per 100,000 inhabitants, at 10.5, was also higher than the country’s average of 9.9, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the German version of the Centers for Disease Control.
The arena says that more than 7,000 tickets for the 12,000-capacity show had been sold and will now be refunded, including fees for advanced booking.
Live Nation announced the concert on Aug. 7, saying it was meant to signal the end of a five-month shutdown of large-scale public concerts in Germany. Despite extensive health measures – including a ban on alcohol use, mandatory mask-wearing and the concert being seated-only -- the event soon encountered disagreements between local health officials in Düsseldorf and state officials in North Rhine-Westphalia, with the state health minister, Karl-Josef Laumann, calling the concert “irresponsible” in view of the “complex infection situation.”
The arena’s statement this week alluded to “concerns from the state government” and said that “the opposing positions could not be bridged.”