Recommendations & Considerations
Update 2022/05/12: Some of our organizing committee members recently attended other in-person or hybrid conferences, at which COVID-19 spread was reported after the conference. For example, Hasti Seifi and Oliver Schneider were in-person at CHI2022 in New Orleans, USA. At this event, vaccination passes and masks were mandatory at the main conference event, but not at the surrounding social events (e.g., lunch, dinner, informal receptions). Following the conference, many attendees reported testing positive for COVID-19. Although information is still emerging, it sounds like much of the spread occurred at social events earlier in the conference which were primarily maskless and indoors. Similar outcomes have been reported at other recent in-person conferences, whether smaller, larger, or the same size as EuroHaptics 2022.
As a result, we encourage EuroHaptics conference participants to consider taking a test before leaving for the conference, masking indoors, and testing frequently during and after the conference period. If you test positive, please reach out to anyone you had close contact with to provide awareness and follow the local guidelines from the city of Hamburg. In the conference bags you will receive both, medical masks that you can use at your discretion during the conference and rapid-tests for your personal use. We encourage you to make use of both, to be aware and take appropriate measures – just in case.
Update 2022/04/26: EuroHaptics 2022 was decided at the beginning of March to be a real live event. We are looking forward to it!
Recently, Hamburg city council and our Universities’ presidency has decided to relax all rules connected with Covid-19 countermeasures following the general rules in Germany. Please note this summary of the most relevant items:
- The event will not require any special safety measures. Attendance is possible if you have no symptoms of an infection. However, please note our recommendations and considerations above!
- There is no formal or official need to wear masks in the buildings and during the conference. Of course, wearing them is well respected and a voluntary measure in close and direct interaction which we encourage.
- IMPORTANT: Please note that there is still a need in Germany to wear FFP2-masks in any kind of public transportation!
- Some locations (some small-size shops, very few restaurants) still ask for wearing masks based on their authority. So if you move as a tourist, it is good to always carry a mask with you.
Links & References for Covid-19 Regulations in Germany
Due to its federal structure, some details of Covid-19 regulations still vary from state to state. The differences mainly apply to the exact way of how cultural or other large events run. Hamburg is not only a city, it is a federal independent state too. So for our conference the rules of “Hamburg” apply. For up to date information about current Covid-regulations, see the websites below, which are updated regularly:
- Regulations valid in Hamburg city and Hamburg state: https://www.hamburg.de/faq-english/
- Entry and quarantine from/to Germany: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/coronavirus/2317268
- entry from non EU states is only possible for vaccinated people, travelers from EU states have to carry proof of immunity (vaccination or recovery with 28 days to 6 months old positive PCR test-result) or a negative test-result (PCR)
- there is a travel ban for countries that are declared areas of variants of concern
- FAQs: https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de/en/coronavirus/infos-reisende/faq-tests-einreisende.html
- people traveling from high-risk areas have to register here: https://www.einreiseanmeldung.de/#/
- Reference-overview of high risk areas from a German-perspective: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/Risikogebiete_neu.html
Message from the Chair
Subjective statement about the situation in Germany (Thorsten Kern, 2022/05/04):
The current situation in Germany is relaxed. Yes, covid-19 variants are existing and incidence values are at a high level, but living here it is more a fact of statistics, less a burden to the individual or the society. There are still rules in place that after infection you have to isolate yourself for a period of some days or until a negative test. However all infections in my private and professional surrounding meanwhile – which is also linked to the good vaccination level achieved – have comparably little symptoms. Being vaccinated, most young people (students, PhDs) report to not feel too much or maybe like a short and intense flue. Most “middel-aged” people like myself report a maximum of five to seven days of varying symptoms with some following general weakness for another week or two. It feels like step by step everyone around me had an infection, including myself.
On the visible-side meanwhile all official safety measures like wearing masks are canceled. There is a mixture on the streets of people wearing masks and others returning to the old freedom. The only exception is with public transportation, wearing a mask there is still a mandatory requirement for usage. Festivals are step-by-step relaunched. It feels like a country waking up after years of sleep. We are not up to speed yet, but the weekends are getting more full with fairs and cultural events of any kind.
On a political level the load on the hospitals is closely monitored. But we are far away from an overload. Yes, there are critical cases existing, but the system is stable and there is no reports about gaps or delays in treatment.
Of course there is the risk around issues of quarantine returning to your home country. This is nothing I can foresee or influence. But I do feel save in inviting you to Hamburg and Germany from a pure aspect and risk of infection: If you are vaccinated or recovered, you are save and you will have a very enjoyable stay and we all together will have a very nice conference!