With social distancing rules to stay in place till late June in Germany, cultural institutions are finding ingenuous ways to safely bring people together. From noodle hats to parking lot prayers, here’s a selection.
While the German government has announced on Tuesday that social distancing measures will apply until June 29, a broad spectrum of cultural institutions in the country are already finding unique ways to maintain a 1.5-meter distance between people from different households.
In the university city of Münster in western Germany, a socially-distanced rave already took place on May 21, with patrons dancing within circles drawn 1.5 meters apart.
The party at the Coconut Beach club in Münster featured a line-up of DJs who were secure behind the decks that were surrounded by plexiglass. The capacity was cut from 2,000 to 100, and even though tickets cost a premium €70 ($77), they were sold out within 15 minutes. As party people let loose after a seemingly interminable lockdown, they still faced a number of restrictions. Only groups of four were able to hang at designated areas around the bar.
Renowned house music DJ Gerd Janson, who took an 80% pay cut to play, told club culture website Resident Advisor that the night was about showing “how to make things possible again … it went really well: a bittersweet mixture of nostalgia and hope.”
Such a drastic cut in patron numbers will be a reality for most major cultural institutions, at least in the short to medium-term. The legendary Berliner Ensemble theater, established by Bertolt Brecht after the war, tweeted an image of the “new reality” in its main house from next season. The space between guests is rather eerie; but at least the show can finally go on.
In terms of culinary culture, one restaurateur has got creative with his spare seats, meaning distanced guests won’t be sitting next to empty space but teddy bears. The Beef’n Beer restaurant in Hofheim in the state of Hesse has utilized the cuddly toys (see top image) as a much friendlier alternative to barrier markers or plexiglass.
Such gimmicks were happening back in mid-May when restaurants reopened in the city of Schwerin in northern Germany. At Konditorei Café Rothe, pool noodle hats were handed out to guests on a sunny day to enforce social distancing measures. Social media was abuzz, with one Twitter user warming the US what is to come.