Incidence-based Tier System: Current Regulations in Cologne

09/07/2021

With the new Corona Protection Ordinance of May 28, 2021, a new tier system applies in North Rhine-Westphalia, which provides for different opening steps depending on the current seven-day incidence rate [DE]. This tier system specifies different regulations for the meeting and congress market depending on the seven-day incidence rate and type of event as well. Please note: The general protective measures, such as the obligation to wear a face mask, remain unaffected by the changes. The following regulations apply to events in Cologne: Tier ...

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09/07/2021

With the new Corona Protection Ordinance of May 28, 2021, a new tier system applies in North Rhine-Westphalia, which provides for different opening steps depending on the current seven-day incidence rate [DE]. This tier system specifies different regulations for the meeting and congress market depending on the seven-day incidence rate and type of event as well.

Please note: The general protective measures, such as the obligation to wear a face mask, remain unaffected by the changes.

The following regulations apply to events in Cologne:

Tier 3: seven-day incidence rate between 100 and 50.1

  • Holding conferences and congresses is prohibited until further notice.
  • Trade fairs and exhibitions are possible, provided that the number of participants is limited to one person per 7 sqm, and that the participants present a negative Corona test certificate.
    An approved hygiene and infection prevention concept is the prerequisit for the event. Should the number of participants exceed 500, prior approval of the concept must be obtained from the health department in cooperation with the responsible public order office.
  • Outdoor cultural events are possible with up to 500 participants, provided that a fixed seating with seats distributed according to a checkerboard pattern is in place, and that each participant presents a negative Corona test certificate.
  • Indoor cultural events are possible if constant ventilation is ensured or a certified ventilation system is in place. Further, a fixed seating plan with checkerboard pattern seating and a negative Corona test certificate by each participant is a prerequisite.

Tier 2: seven-day incidence rate between 50 and 35.1

  • Conventions and congresses may be held outdoors as well as indoors with up to 500 participants. Prerequisites are that each participant presents a negative Corona test certificate and plain traceability of participants [more information in the FAQs] is ensured following the event.
  • Trade fairs and exhibitions may be organised with a participant limit of one person per 7 sqm. Prerequisites are the approval of a hygiene and infection prevention concept by the authorities and a negative Corona test certificate to be presented by each participant.
  • Cultural events may be held outdoors with up to 500 participants holding a negative test certificate. A fixed seating plan with checkerboard seating needs to be in place.
  • Cultural events may be held indoors with up to 500 people holding a negative Corona test certificate, provided that continuous ventilation is ensured or a certified ventilation system is in place. A fixed seating plan with checkerboard-style seating needs to be set up.

Tier 1: seven-day incidence rate < 35.1

  • Conventions and congresses may be held outdoors with more than 1,000 people holding a negative Corona test certificate. Plain traceability must be ensured.
  • Conventions and congresses may be held indoors with up to 1,000 people holding a negative Corona test certificate, provided that plain traceability is ensured.
  • Provided that the seven-day incidence rate remains at a low level, conventions and congresses may be held indoors with up to 1,000 people holding negative Corona test certificates from August 27, 2021, on the condition that a hygiene and infection prevention concept for the event was approved by the authorities.
  • Cultural events are permitted outdoors
    • with up to 1,000 persons, who all need to present a negative Corona test certificate and must be seated in a checkerboard pattern.
    • with maximum 200 people. In this case no negative test certificate needs to be presented by the participants.

Tier 0: five-day incidence rate < 10

  • Conventions and congresses may be held without any restrictions.
  • Provided that the five-day incidence rate in North Rhine-Westphalia remains at a low level (<10), trade fairs may be organised without any restrictions.
  • Cultural events are permitted, participants have to present a negative Corona test certificate or have to be seated in a checkerboard pattern.
  • Cultural events with more than 5,000 participants: all participants need to present a negative Corona test certificate, also a hygiene- and infection prevention concept needs to have been approved prior to the event.

Find out now about the current incidence rate in Cologne here.

Find out what to consider before, during and after an event in times of Corona here.

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Do different regulations apply for vaccinated or recovering persons at events?

According to the Federal Infection Control Act, vaccinated and recovered (hence, immunized) persons are considered equal to those who have tested negative for Corona. In case a maximum number of permitted persons or households is given for gatherings and events, immunized persons do not count as a separate household or person to be calculated. This regulation does not however apply to established facility-based participant limits per square foot or general capacity limits. In cases where a negative Corona test certificate is required, it suffices that immunized persons present proof of immunization (i.e. of full vaccination or a Corona infection that was determined at least 28 days but not more than six months prior to the event).

What does distinct traceability involve compared to plain traceability?

In accordance with plain traceability, the name, address, telephone number or email address, and period of stay of all participating individuals must be recorded with their knowledge. This can be done in writing or digitally, and the data has to be stored for four weeks. In addition to this, distinct traceability calls for a fixed seating plan to be created and stored for four weeks. The seating plan must record which person present at the event sat where.

What counts as a negative Corona test certificate?

If a negative Corona test certificate is required, a Corona test must be performed with a testing procedure that is in accordance with the Corona Test and Quarantine Ordinance. The negative result must be confirmed in writing or digitally by an officially acknowledged test center. As stated in the requirements of Section 28b of the Infection Protection Act, the test may not have been performed more than 48 hours before the offer that requires it is taken up.