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What counts, safety and security or hygiene? Suggestions on the reopening of major events under pandemic conditions in Germany

Patricia Magdalena Schütte (Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany)
Malte Schönefeld (Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany)
Yannic Schulte (Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany)
Frank Fiedrich (Department of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany)

International Journal of Event and Festival Management

ISSN: 1758-2954

Article publication date: 12 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

Between 2020 and spring 2022, health safety was the new pressing concern among the risks at major events. It seemed that it – respectively hygiene as part of infection control – was as important as event safety if an event in Germany was to be approved. Problems aroused in terms of an equal implementation in practice. This article therefore addresses how safety and hygiene aspects interacted during event planning and implementation phases.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on qualitative data from a German research project. They use results from eleven semi-structured expert interviews and four field observations at major events. One guiding assumption in the content analysis is that there are major interrelations between event and health safety concepts, which become visible during planning and the implementation of event-related technical, organisational and personal measures.

Findings

The empirical data shows that hygiene is not perceived as an integral part of event safety, but rather as a disconnected pillar beside the “classical” event safety. This is reflected in an imbalanced attention as well as in separate, disintegrated concepts. This disconnectedness leaves room for unwanted interplays between event and health safety as well as potential legitimacy facades.

Originality/value

Most studies to date focus on the effectiveness of hygiene concepts and impacts of COVID-19 on the event sector in general without taking a closer look at interactions between event safety and health safety.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Helena Rüttger and Magdalena Binder for their support.

Citation

Schütte, P.M., Schönefeld, M., Schulte, Y. and Fiedrich, F. (2022), "What counts, safety and security or hygiene? Suggestions on the reopening of major events under pandemic conditions in Germany", International Journal of Event and Festival Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEFM-04-2022-0032

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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