Christmas means a lot to Germans. A study shows that in 2019, 79% of respondents said they celebrated Christmas (in 2017 it was even 90%). According to Statista, Germany is also the European leader when it comes to Christmas markets: In 2015 there were 270 million visitors to the 34 large and well over 2000 small Christmas markets. Our neighbouring countries cannot keep up with this: France (78 million), Austria (21 million) and Switzerland (8.2 million) do not even have half as many visitors in total.
But in 2020 - as so often in this difficult year - everything is different. Because of COVID19 there is a flood of cancellations for Christmas markets. The danger of infection is too great, the space is too small. The second wave has Germany in its grip and now the unfortunate organisers are feeling the effects. It was predictable that Corona and the Christmas market would not go together as well as gingerbread and mulled wine, but the reality of the cancellation hurts nevertheless.
The author of this article is right in the middle of the topic, as his Christmas market also had to be cancelled.
The decision to cancel our Schabermarkt, the first alternative Christmas market in Berlin's “Bergmannkiez”, was already made in September. A realisation of our programme with workshops, readings and cultural activities would unfortunately not have been possible under the current conditions. Oliver Edwards, Founder Schabermarkt
Even if the decision to cancel an event is not easy, many have not regretted their decision: the flood of cancellations is huge, with a new Christmas market falling victim to Corona almost every day. From Schleswig-Holstein to Berlin and Bavaria: there are cancellations in every federal state and many cities.
Among the most prominent are the Christmas markets in Nuremberg, Konstanz, Erfurt and Frankfurt. In the capital, the Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt was cancelled for the first time in 17 years.
Countless small Christmas markets are also affected. As a result, not only the organisers themselves suffer, but also hundreds of traders who have relied on the income from the Christmas market business.
Nevertheless, the total turnover of Christmas market visitors for market traders, local retailers, restaurants and hotels, transport and other tourism service providers already amounted to €4.847 billion in 2001. On average, each visitor spent € 31.14 on his or her visit to the Christmas market.
Some organisers of Christmas markets in Germany show that they do not want to do without the Christmas spirit altogether. They have, in consultation with the state and federal government, developed security and hygiene concepts to ensure that the Christmas market can take place despite Corona.
The result of this decision: At many markets, masks are compulsory at the stands and the stalls - of which there will be fewer - will be positioned at large distances of 5 - 10 metres. Mulled wine and other alcohol may often only be consumed in the catering areas. Many, e.g. the Leipzig Christmas market, will prohibit the gastronomical offer completely.
One thing is certain: For many Christmas markets the following applies: visitor registration or visitor documentation, especially in the areas with food and drinks, is obligatory and the basic requirement of the hygiene concept.
To avoid cancellation, one thing is particularly important for events of all kinds: Chains of infection must be traceable. To be able to do this, it is necessary to know who is attending the event and how the authorities can contact each guest quickly and effectively in the event of a Coronavirus outbreak.
Christmas markets are no exception, but they do have a few special features, e.g. the size and number of visitors. The duration is also relatively long compared to other events. For this you need a reliable system to be able to provide reliable attendance documentation at all times.
"In these challenging times, we at MATE would like to support our customers and partners with new solutions, so that you can successfully hold your events even in the current situation. This is especially important for the upcoming Christmas season, when so many people long for social exchange and cosy get-togethers. For this reason, we have developed a simple, easy to implement and above all secure solution for contactless registration and tracking of your visitors, especially for Christmas markets." Florian Kühne, CEO MATE
Good guest management is an essential cornerstone for contact tracking. This is also shown by the rigorous action taken by the authorities, e.g. in Hamburg: up to 150 € fine is payable if false contact details are given. In order to avoid this situation, organisers need to provide their visitors with a simple way of depositing their data.With MATE, you can create an attractive and mobile optimised registration page with a dynamic registration form in minutes. Your visitors can register either from home or directly on site with their smartphone. Immediately after the successful registration, the guest will receive a QR code, which will allow them to enter your Christmas market.
At the same time, you need to be able to track when visitors entered or left the site. A check-in and check-out function serves this purpose. The MATE app for iPads and iPhones is available for check-in and accreditation on site. Registration checkpoints are one way to help vistors on site.
To avoid queues at the entrance, the process can also be completed in seconds. This allows you to maintain a safe distance at all times and guarantee a steady flow of guests. You also have an overview of the number of people on the Christmas market site at all times.
So how does contact tracing work in case of an outbreak of corona at your Christmas market? How can you distinguish who was in which area on the day in question?
Simple: With MATE, you always have an overview of which guests are on the premises and when. If you or the health authorities need to contact individual visitors, you can do this with attractive communication templates directly within MATE.
Would you like to know how MATE can help you organise your Christmas market? Take a look at our online brochure.
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The omnipresent ghost of Corona is now threatening to tilt the socially important Christmas spirit. Many Christmas markets have already reacted to Corona by cancelling their event. The remaining Christmas markets are still struggling to come up with a suitable safety and hygiene concept.
Effective guest management can help you meet the requirements of the authorities for Christmas markets. Visitor registration allows you to trace chains of infection and thus to contain the spread of Corona.
We personally wish all Christmas markets, the organisers and the guests every success and, above all, good health.
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