There is little risk of anyone becoming infected with COVID-19 within a concert hall. That’s according to the results of a new study by Konzerthaus Dortmund, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, ParteQ and Germany’s Federal Environment Agency.

A study, which analysed aerosol transmission at the concert hall in November 2020, found that the risk of an infected person transmitting COVID-19 in an indoor concert venue is small.

The study, conducted under a number of measures, stated that the venue’s ventilation system and the wearing of a facemask greatly reduce the aerosol and CO2 pollution. Therefore, the study concluded that, in theory, full occupancy in the hall would be conceivable.

However, taking into account the access routes and foyers, it is recommended that the hall be occupied in a chessboard pattern and thus 50 per cent of the hall capacity.

“Concert halls and theatres are not places of infection,” said Dr. Raphael von Hoensbroech, director of the Konzerthaus Dortmund.

The study provides results that are important for a reopening.

The study found:

With a mask and with a sufficiently dimensioned fresh air supply via the existing ventilation and air conditioning system, there was practically no influence of test aerosols on any of the neighbouring places during the investigations emitting subjects.

Already the large volume of the room ensures a strong dilution of polluted aerosols, due to the air intake and exhaust operation of the air conditioning system without circulating air aerosols are effectively transported away in all areas and cannot accumulate.

Without a mask, you should always keep the direct front seat free, with the rest of the neighbouring seats an infection is very unlikely based on the examinations. A chessboard occupation of the hall without a mask after taking the seat is recommended in any case.

The wearing of masks is permitted in the hallways, in the break area and in the foyer. It is necessary, since the ventilation works differently in these areas than in the concert hall. During the breaks, all doors to the concert hall should remain open to one to enable additional cross-flow ventilation.

Dr.-Ing. Heinz-Jörn Moriske, director and professor at the Federal Environment Agency, said: “I can fully agree with the conclusion. With a checkerboard distribution of the guests and 100 per cent full load of the ventilation system, the risk of infection is very low. The wearing of mouth and nose protection in the hall is an advantage, although not as important as previously assumed.”

A similar study in Barcelona by Primavera Sound also had similar positive results.