Citizens across the Bundesrepublik watched and waited. The news emanating for chancellor Angela Merkel's virtual summit with the premiers of all 16 state governments was not unexpected. When the confirmation came, however, it remained an enormous disappointment.
All sporting events in Germany will take place behind closed doors in November.
And so it comes to an end. There shall be no more fan concepts. Football clubs will not even be permitted to allow in even a small symbolic number of supporters. After this weekend, the six-week period of "fan plans" officially is no more.
Rising COVID infection rates across the country compel the federal government to declare a second "Geisterpiel Era". A range of other restrictions will profoundly affect the lives of all residents calling the Bundesrepublik home. All restaurants and bars have been officially ordered to close until further notice.
The experimental phase during which some crowds were allowed to watch football live in venues shall likely be remembered as a largely successful undertaking. With very few exceptions, footballing spectators demonstrated that they were capable of adhering to hygiene concepts and following regulations.
Of all the procedural concepts executed, the case of FC Union Berlin stands out. Faced with additional restrictions, the Köpenick club hosted 4,500 supporters this past weekend in what will be the final instance of a crowd attending a Bundesliga fixture for some time to come.
A city-ordinance required that entrants wear a mask at all times. Additionally, the guests were strictly prohibited from yelling, shouting, or singing. Amazingly enough, all visitors to the Stadion an der Alten Försterei came prepared to comply fully with the restrictions. In lieu of chanting, fans brought pots and pans to drum on in support of their team.
One will likely not behold such touching scenes again until well into the New Year. New coronavirus infections in the Bundesrepublik set yet another record on Tuesday, spiking above 14,000 new cases in a grim harbinger of the tough winter to come.