A second major study out of Germany has shown that there is little risk of COVID-19 infection in properly ventilated venues. A three-day test in November at Dortmund’s Konzerthaus (1500 capacity) was carried out by the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and backed by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency.
A high-tech dummy named “Oleg” was used to simulate breathing. Some of the key findings from the report include:
- With a mask, and with a sufficient supply of fresh air via the existing ventilation and air conditioning system, there was practically no influence of test aerosols on any of the neighbouring places from an emitting test person during the tests.
- Without a mask, the seat directly in front should be kept free. With the remaining neighbouring seats, infection is very unlikely. A checkerboard seating arrangement of the auditorium is recommended in any case.
- Wearing masks is always necessary in corridors, in break areas, and in the foyers, as the ventilation system works differently here than in the auditorium (where air escapes through the ceiling) and where close contact cannot be ruled out. During breaks all doors to the auditorium should remain open to allow for additional crossflow ventilation.
- The concert hall cannot trigger a superspreading event with the existing ventilation in place (with a complete air exchange with fresh, outside air every 20 minutes).
The director of Konzerthaus Dortmund, Dr. Raphael von Hoensbroech, told IQ Magazine that “concert halls and theatres are not places of infection. The past few months have shown that politics needs a scientifically sound basis for decision-making. With our study, we want to ensure that concert halls and theatres may again admit sufficient audiences when they reopen.”
In August, a study conducted by the University Hospital of Halle came to similar conclusions. More recently, a trial concert study held in December with live participants showed no infections.