Skip to main content

Essen Spiel 2021 to require proven COVID-19 immunisation or negative test for entry, will enforce mandatory face masks

“Masks will be mandatory at Spiel in any case, even if the government does not make it mandatory.”

Image credit: Friedhelm Merz Verlag

This year’s Essen Spiel will restrict entry to visitors who show proof of immunisation or a negative test result, as well as enforcing mandatory face masks throughout the German board game convention.

Essen Spiel organiser Friedhelm Merz Verlag confirmed the health and safety measures provided to exhibitors ahead of the event held in the Messe Essen exhibition centre from October 14th to 17th.

The event marks the first physical event for the show since 2019, having been ‘postponed’ due to the coronavirus pandemic and replaced by the online Spiel.Digital event in 2020. Essen Spiel 2019 recorded record attendance of 209,000 - although it’s worth stating that the organisers do not specify unique visitors versus repeat footfall across the four days.

Among the requirements in place is the need for visitors and exhibitors to show valid proof of immunisation against COVID-19 to be granted entry to the show. Immunisation was defined as a full EU-licensed vaccination at least 15 days prior, proof of a COVID-19 infection within the last six months confirmed via a PCR test or a PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection more than six months ago in combination with a single vaccination dose.

Watch on YouTube

The event will also permit entry to visitors and exhibitors who present a negative test taken within the last 48 hours. The show will offer the chance for visitors to be tested in the nearby Grugahalle test centre before entry.

The requirements align with the Coronaschutzverordnung - “Corona Virus Protection Ordinance” - of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that includes Essen.

Those granted permission to the event will be given a wristband and can freely leave and re-enter the show subject to a visual check, the organisers added.

All visitors and exhibitors will be required to wear “medical grade protective face masks”, with those who remove their mask once inside liable to be removed from the event, an Essen Spiel representative told Dicebreaker. Staff on the show floor will reportedly enforce the requirement.

“Masks will be mandatory at Spiel in any case, even if the government does not make it mandatory,” the representative added.

The exhibitor guidelines distributed by Friedhelm Merz Verlag state a minimum distance of 1.5m between chairs at separate gaming tables on booths. Up to 10 people can play at a single table, with no minimum social distancing measure specified for those at the same table. Aisles and booth placement will also be widened. Players will be required to sanitise their hands before and after each game round.

Watch on YouTube

The guidelines state that exhibitors must use a “digital solution” - such as an app - to keep track of visitors who play at what time as a form of contact tracing, collecting personal information such as their name, address and telephone number or email contact. Individual visitors can opt out of providing their data, but will not be able to participate in demos and other activities as a result.

Friedhelm Merz Verlag said it would provide visitor information and rules approximately two weeks before tickets for Essen Spiel 2021 go on sale, adding: “We are still working on some details. But the rules will be no different than for exhibitors.”

Read this next