“Relocations currently not permitted”
Guido Graf puts off Fasnächtler: “Federal Council will make a new assessment in two weeks”
In 29 days the carnival begins in Lucerne. Relocations could not be allowed as of now. The government councilors Guido Graf and Paul Winiker say their hands are tied and that the Federal Council must decide.
A week ago, the Federal Council loosened the screw for open-air events from 1000 people: cantons can also approve these without access restrictions such as 3G obligation. Why do you think that parades and larger events such as carnival parades and the day watch are currently not permitted?
Health Director Guido Graf: We were in contact with the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) and made legal clarifications. It’s about events with crowds of up to 60,000 people. That’s just not acceptable at the moment.
Security Director Paul Winiker: The clarifications have shown that the exception clause of the federal government is not intended for such major urban events. Examples of such exceptions are smaller events such as a bicycle race, where the finish area is blocked off with 3G, but the number of spectators around the route remains moderate.
Graf: That is the status today, but there will be a reassessment from the federal government in two weeks. I would not be surprised if the measures in this area are relaxed.
A week ago, the Federal Council loosened the screw for open-air events from 1000 people: cantons can also approve these without access restrictions such as 3G obligation. According to the ordinance, this explicitly means events “in the sports and cultural sectors that take place over longer distances or on routes in open terrain and where, due to local conditions, neither access controls nor barriers are possible.”
Can you give a date, a deadline, by when the governing council will make a decision?
Graf: There are rules of the game that currently apply and that we do not ignore. We are in an ongoing exchange and also monitor which events are approved and what was the basis for the decision. One thing is clear: the government wants a carnival and there will also be a carnival.
But you can’t determine a clear point in time for your decisions?
Graf: The Federal Council will issue a new assessment in two weeks. It depends on these.
Winiker: The known measures currently apply. 3G applies to outdoor events with more than 300 people. Every organizer must now consider what to do with the current state of affairs. There have already been a number of pre-Fasnacht events under the applicable rules of the ordinance. We are currently unable to give the organizers any planning security for the parades and larger events. A street and pub carnival is currently possible under the current measures – that’s considerably more than last year.
Apart from the big events, could it be carnival and boisterous again this year at the Schmudo, for example?
Winiker: As long as an organized event does not take place, which is also announced as such, we cannot do anything. It’s like the Lilu Light Festival, we couldn’t say how many people would come to town. The important thing is that each person must decide for themselves whether they can justify their decisions and actions under the current epidemiological situation. For example, if you neglect the distance rule a little during the carnival, you do so at your own risk. This cannot be prevented as long as it is not an organized event.
How do you prepare for such scenarios in terms of security?
Winiker: This is the work of the police, which has to ask itself the question: how do we deal with it? These preparations are underway under the current circumstances.
What is the city’s stance on this discussion?
Graf: The city has a round table this Tuesday evening and will express itself there. Experts from the canton are also there. In the end there is coordination between the canton and the city – we are moving in the same direction. However, the city is responsible for the detailed elaboration.
In the morning’s debate in the cantonal council, the presence of a government councilor at the round table was required. Can you follow up on this request?
Graf: No, no government council will personally take part in the round table. We weren’t in Sursee either, not in Willisau, nor in Hochdorf. This is a technical exchange. We are represented there with our people from the departments. They also have full competence for such assessments.
Mr. Graf, the carnival people are smoking heads after their vote in the cantonal council. What do you think?
Graf: Sometimes we also have smoking heads (smiles). We’re really trying to do what we can. We don’t make things complicated, but try to help and make as much possible as possible. We provide proof of this with events during the pre-Fasnacht period or, for example, with the approval of the move to Hochdorf under 3G.
Winiker: We have to follow the motto: «As much carnival as possible». There are simply rules to protect the population and that’s where we come to the limit of feasibility with the big events.
Carnival 2022: There will be one in Lucerne, that emerged from the debate in the cantonal parliament on Tuesday morning, but how exactly is unclear. The Council debated the two proposals by Cantonal Councilor Jasmin Ursprung (Udligenswil, SVP), in which she asked questions about the Lucerne government’s position on holding the Lucerne Carnival in 2022. The following three points emerge from the government’s statement:
-Street carnival is «not forbidden»: “The (unorganized) street carnival is not prohibited according to federal regulations. In contrast to the previous year, there are no longer any restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to meet in public spaces, »writes the government council. Conversely, this can be interpreted as follows: If the street carnival is not forbidden according to the government, then it is allowed. However, the government refers to this point in its statement: “In view of the still tense situation, the population is still called upon to observe the general precautionary measures (distance, mask requirement, etc.)”. Organized and self-contained outdoor events of more than 300 people are possible while complying with 3G (vaccinated, recovered, tested).
– Pickling carnival “possible” in compliance with rules: The government is also specifically addressing the pub carnival and masked balls. She writes: “For indoor events (e.g. masked balls) and in restaurants (Fasnacht pubs), the relevant federal regulations apply. Indoors, 2G (vaccinated, recovered), wearing a mask and consumption while sitting or alternatively 2G+ (vaccinated/recovered in the last four months or additionally tested) applies voluntarily. 2G+ applies if there is no obligation to wear a mask and consumption while sitting is not possible. » If the innkeepers follow these guidelines, it is possible to have a carnival in their restaurants. Guido Graf also emphasizes that Beizenfasnacht is possible.
-Carnival parades are «checked»: However, the government says nothing concrete about carnival parades. She announces: “With regard to the implementation of carnival parades, the canton is examining the extent to which the new federal regulations for outdoor cultural events that will come into force on January 25, 2022 and the epidemiological situation will allow such.” As a reminder: A week ago, the Federal Council loosened the screw for open-air events with more than 1000 people: Cantons can also approve these without access restrictions such as 3G obligation. According to the ordinance, this explicitly means events “in the sports and cultural sectors that take place over longer distances or on routes in open terrain and where, due to local conditions, neither access controls nor barriers are possible.”
Relocations are possible, says Damian Hunkeler (FDP)
In the debate in the cantonal parliament, opinions differed as to how the new announcements from Bern regarding carnival parades in Lucerne should be interpreted, namely between Damian Hunkeler (FDP) and government councilor Guido Graf. Hunkeler said: “For the move to take place, the government doesn’t even have to have a lot of imagination. Of course, the carnival is a cultural event. I am happy to offer a basic Fasnacht course to representatives of the government who are not aware of this. In addition, participating in and watching the carnival is voluntary, which is the personal responsibility of each individual. For this reason alone, the number of participants will be lower this year. I wish the government and Guido Graf a lot of courage for a rudely wise decision. Such a one has to fall today, so that things can be nailed down at the round table tonight. »
Relocations are prohibited, says government councilor Graf
The round table mentioned is a meeting of the city government, the canton government and the carnival leaders. At 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening, you want to provide information about the content of the meeting. It must have been rather disappointing for Hunkeler what he had already heard from Guido Graf in Parliament on the subject of relocation. Graf addressed Hunkeler directly: «Is Damian Hunkeler still there? I just hope he listens well, »said Graf. This was then heard: “The government does not plan to tighten federal measures. The Covid regulation tells us what is possible and what is not. So it’s a purely technical and not a political assessment.” And the government carries out this “technical assessment” as follows: “If larger events cannot be closed off, they are not permitted at the moment. It has nothing to do with culture, it’s just the way it is.” At the moment, “moves, day watches, orange battles or organized Guugger stages, etc. are not permitted”. It is important that the rules at the time of carnival are observed. But that is only in a month, so it is possible that tightening or easing will come. Graf’s conclusion: “The situation is still tense, the federal government is following this and will make a new assessment in two weeks. Whatever he decides also applies to Lucerne. In all activities related to carnival, it is very important that hygiene measures are observed and protection concepts are implemented. »
The question of relocation will continue to concern Lucerne politicians. The next round is on Tuesday evening when the round table meets. You can read all about it on Tuesday evening at Luzernerzeitung.ch; Of course, tomorrow, Wednesday, we will also report extensively in our newspaper on developments relating to Fasnacht 2022.