EU prepares to cautiously reopen cultural sector
BRUSSELS, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission issued on Tuesday guidelines for the safe reopening of the cultural and creative sectors across the European Union (EU).
The reopening of the cultural and creative sectors for the festive summer season should happen gradually, Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission in charge of promoting the European way of life, said at a press conference.
EU member states will have to consider their own COVID-19 vaccination coverage and epidemiological situation as they reopen their cultural establishments and events, according to Schinas.
The context in which cultural and creative events are held will also be decisive. For example, an outdoor event will be considered safer than an indoor one, where proper ventilation and the number of participants will be key considerations.
Encouraging results from trial events held in five European countries throughout the spring show that "live events do not accelerate infection" if measures such as testing at the entrance and wearing masks are observed, the guidelines say.
At cultural establishments, member states should put in place a series of measures, such as install proper ventilation; ensure that all staff are vaccinated; enforce the wearing of masks and hand hygiene; maintain social distancing; operate contact tracing; and have a preparedness plan.
To help the cultural and creative sectors recover, the EU will "activate a whole range of actions and tools," according to Schinas.
The budget has been increased by 4.5 billion euros (5.35 billion U.S. dollars) in total for the 2021-2027 period to help finance the sector's recovery, said Mariya Gabriel, European commissioner for innovation, research, culture, education and youth.
Despite its unique ability to reinvent itself, the cultural sector has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns. According to the Commission's 2021 Annual Single Market Report, cinema operators in the EU reported a 70 percent drop in box office sales in 2020, music venues a 76 percent drop in attendance and a 64 percent drop in revenues. Museums lost up to 75-80 percent of their normal revenues in popular tourist regions. Enditem