It should be the cultural premiere of the year: Harry Potter and the enchanted child. Maik Klokow and his company invested 42 million euros in production, they rebuilt the wholesale market and put millions in advertising and marketing. But then Corona came.
Now Maik Klokow sits at home and says he tries to keep his optimism. The premiere on March 15 was canceled, all other dates have been canceled. The Theater am Großmarkt is closed, the artists, the stage technicians, the employees of the canteen, they are all no longer needed. Klokow has registered short-time work for 180 permanent employees in Hamburg. He quit 130 temporary workers who work in the cloakroom and catering. Only a few colleagues in the administration still work part-time from their home office.
"We are a large company," says Klokow. He operates with the company Mehr! Entertainment including the Musical Dome in Cologne and the Admiralspalast in Berlin, the parent company The Ambassador Theater Group has 50 theaters around the world. "We are actually doing very well, we have a financial cushion. But all of our theaters are closed. That is an existential problem for us."
Ever since public life in Hamburg is being cut back, the economic impact has also been felt everywhere. They meet employees, small self-employed, but also large international companies like Maik Klokow's. And they scare many people as much as that virus even.
The list of those affected is long: Most shops, restaurants and bars are closed, actors and musicians can no longer perform, fitness coaches and therapists no longer serve their customers, there are no more tourists, cruise ships no longer depart, trade fairs have been canceled, Just as all cultural events, hotels are almost empty, taxis are no longer needed, and only an emergency staff is working at Hamburg Airport. And that is just the beginning. It is not unlikely that the world is facing the greatest economic crisis in many decades.
What should Hamburg prepare for? Henning Vöpel is an economics professor and head of the Hamburg World Economic Institute. His forecast: "If we return to normality in May or June, the economy will shrink by about ten percent in the first half of the year." Economic output would then decline by at least 2.5 percent for the full year. That is manageable. Unfortunately, it is also the cheapest case. What if it takes longer? "That would no longer be a serious calculation."
And: His numbers refer to the economy in all of Germany. "This crisis will probably affect Hamburg worse than the rest of Germany," says Vöpel. Because more people work here in the sectors that are particularly badly affected by Corona. These are primarily the economic sectors that provide short-term services and that often take place in physical proximity to other people. So retailers, the event industry, cultural institutions, tourism, hotels and restaurants. In addition, freelancers who already have no orders.
First the restaurants, then the suppliers, then their suppliers
Raoul Scheimeister knows many restaurateurs, big and small, celebrity chefs and corner café operators. With his company Tranquillo, he supplies more than 250 Hamburg restaurants with Italian food, regional vegetables, wine and home-roasted coffee. There is not much left of his business at the moment, says Scheimeister. "Sales have slumped to about five percent of our normal operations. It is ghostly when the phone simply doesn't ring anymore." He sent his 20 employees on short-time work. But the warehouses are still full of perishable goods that nobody wants at the moment.