In order to reimburse those who have missed out on leisure activities due to the coronavirus, the German government has decided to refund admission prices in the form of vouchers.

According to current laws, holders of admission, season and annual tickets for events can request reimbursement of the entry and usage fees they have already paid. However, many operators currently have no source of income, meaning if they were to offer reimbursement for all entrance or user fees for cancelled events on such short notice, they risk closing down and being unable to offer refunds.

Therefore, vouchers are being offered as a way to give consumers their money back, whilst also saving those in the culture and leisure industry.

For all tickets and usage rights purchased before 8 March, customers will receive vouchers. If these vouchers are not redeemed by the end of 2021, the organiser or operator of the event must reimburse its value. If, due to personal reasons, a voucher is not a reasonable method of reimbursement, the customer can request a refund. This helps the situation remain regulated and balanced for all involved.

Vouchers are being offered as a way to give consumers their money back, whilst also saving those in the culture and leisure industry.

The vouchers must include the full admission price or all other fees including any advance booking fees, and the issuing and sending of the voucher must be free of charge.

If the admission ticket or usage authorisation includes participation in several events and if or only part of it can take place, the ticket holder is entitled to a voucher in the amount of the value of the unused part. This applies to season tickets for sports clubs or swimming pools, as well as music and language courses.

Organisers must issue a voucher, and customers must be given the choice to redeem the voucher for a catch-up appointment or for another event of the organiser. Restricting the voucher to the catch-up event of the cancelled event is not permitted.

The voucher also must say that it was issued during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the holder can request payment of the value of voucher if it is an ‘unreasonable’ solution for them, or if it has not been redeemed by December 31, 2021.

Events in a ‘professional context’, for example advanced training and seminars, trade fairs and congresses, will not be a part of the voucher reimbursement scheme. This is reportedly because generally these events have significantly higher fees meaning giving attendees voucher instead of a reimbursement could place an ‘excessive financial burden’ on freelancers and smaller companies.