FRANKFURT – The curtain is coming down, for now, at the Circus Delmonde.
As Germany embarks Monday on a four-week partial lockdown, the family-run circus joins theaters, cinemas, sports facilities, restaurants and bars across the country in shutting down and hoping for the best. Authorities decided last week to impose the restrictions, worried that a rapid rise in coronavirus infections could overwhelm the country's health system if left unchecked.
Tino Kraemer, 49, heads the circus that has been in his family for seven generations. He is joined by his wife, Jennifer, and their six children in keeping the circus going and putting on shows — along with 25 animals, including geese, ponies and a llama.
The eldest daughter, 18-year-old Ginni, is the circus' acrobat and star, while her two younger sisters act as clowns.
The circus — one of around 300 similar small circuses in Germany — typically travels around the country, moving to a new location every two weeks with its big red-and-yellow tent.
The circus drew between 50 and 150 spectators before this year's coronavirus restrictions. In recent months, it has been able to welcome a maximum of 100. Visitors are required to wear masks except when at their seats and the artists must wear masks when they are outside the ring or having a break. On Saturday, there were 35 spectators; a recent Friday show was canceled when only four turned up.
For now, the show is coming to a halt at its current location on the outskirts of Frankfurt, where the family is based.