The Leipzig Book Fair 2020 is Cancelled
Cancellation by the City of Leipzig and Leipzig Book Fair
The Leipzig Book Fair, the German book industry's spring show, will not be held as planned from 12 to 15 March. This also applies to the reading festival "Leipzig liest" and the Manga Comic-Con.
The Leipzig Public Health Office decided to follow the directive of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Economics, which states that the traceability of contact persons at major events must be guaranteed. The directive explicitly stipulated that every participant in the fair must provide written proof that he or she is not from any of the identified risk locations and has not had contact with people from such locations. Considering the approximately 2,500 exhibitors and 280,000 expected visitors, this was not a reasonable task. The City of Leipzig and Leipziger Messe have therefore decided to cancel the event entirely.
"The health of our citizens and the city is our top priority," emphasised Burkhard Jung, Mayor of Leipzig. "The decision to cancel the Leipzig Book Fair was based on the recommendation of the relevant authorities. They alone have the necessary expertise and competence to assess the situation".
"Safety comes first", said Martin Buhl-Wagner, Managing Director of Leipziger Messe. "The Leipzig Book Fair is a major event for German-language literature and a highlight in the book industry's calendar. With this in mind, we have continuously increased our security measures at the fairground since the outbreak of Covid-19 in order to protect the health of exhibitors, visitors, guests and employees. However, in light of the current situation and in agreement with the City of Leipzig, we believe that the health risk to our exhibitors, visitors, guests and staff at the Leipzig Book Fair is far too great".
Oliver Zille, Director of the Leipzig Book Fair: "We are deeply sorry that we have to take this step and cancel these two fairs. We have never had to make such a difficult decision in the seventy-year history of the Leipzig Book Fair. This is difficult for us and for the entire book industry. I would like to thank all of the exhibitors, partners and visitors who have remained true to us. We ask for your understanding now and look forward to seeing you again at the next Leipzig Book Fair from 18 to 21 March 2021".
Minister President Michael Kretschmer stressed: "Our goal is to protect the Saxon population and to contain and combat the spread of the Coronavirus as much as possible. This requires consistent, preventive and responsible action. The Leipzig Book Fair is a meeting place for hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. In such cases, health and safety take clear precedence".
Health Minister Petra Köpping said: "Cancelling the Book Fair was a difficult decision to make, but the right one. Protecting the health of the population takes precedence. This decision demonstrates a great commitment to visitors, authors and publishers in order to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. While the cancellation of the Book Fair is very painful, Leipzig is and will remain an internationally important book city. I sincerely hope that the book lovers who have been looking forward to the fair will understand".
Leipzig's Public Health Office cited the latest assessment by the Robert Koch Institute, which on Monday raised the risk assessment for the further spread of the Coronavirus from "low to moderate" to "moderate". This is a new type of virus and its characteristics still need to be researched. So far it is known that even people without symptoms can spread the virus. That makes it very difficult to take preventive measures at major events.
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