EU publishes guidelines for safe reopening of cultural and creative sectors

COVID-19. Image: Geralt Pixabay CC0.

On 29 June, the European Commission issued guidelines to ensure the safe restarting of the cultural and creative sector in Europe. As vaccination campaigns are well underway, several member states are reopening cultural venues and activities. Apart from establishing more safety for those working in the sector, the guidelines aim to secure a sustainable recovery of the cultural and creative industries. 

The advice plan is designed to work on a national, regional and local level, a European Commission press release stated. States can see what kind of COVID-19 restrictions they need to take in a specific situation of a pandemic. By considering several criteria, such as viral circulation, vaccination coverage, or protective measures, governments can use the guideline to determine when and how cultural and creative activities can resume.

Paid the toll

The European Commission believes it is time the cultural and creative sector receives more support after the hardships of the pandemic. “The cultural and creative industries and sectors have paid a heavy toll since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak”, said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “At the same time, the crisis highlighted their importance for our society and economy.”

Culture helped people cope with the impacts of lockdowns and social distancing.

Margaritis Schinas

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, emphasised the positive role culture played in helping people cope with the impacts of lockdowns and social distancing. “It is now our turn to accompany the sectors in their path to reopening”, he said. “The cultural and creative sectors are strong European assets and are important for Europe’s sustainable recovery, increased resilience of European society, and more generally, our European way of life.”

Protocols and recourses

The protocols are listed on the Commission’s site for Coronavirus Response resources. Apart from protocols or resources, cultural and creative workers can find examples of successful trial cultural events organised across the EU. Below are several of the most well-known protocols listed.

  • Lifting all restrictions should be strategic and gradual according to the guidelines. For example, there should be a restricted number of participants at the start of activities. 
  • Cultural venues should have a preparedness plan. These should contain detailed protocols to deal with COVID-19 infections.
  • Information and/or training should be made available for all staff in cultural institutions to minimise risks of infection.
  • The sector should promote vaccination of persons working in cultural settings to ensure their and the public’s protection.
  • Participants should be asked proof of a negative COVID-19 test and/or vaccination and/or COVID-19 diagnosis to be admitted to the venue. Depending on the local circulation of variants, authorities can decide that only fully vaccinated people can participate.
  • Establishments should ensure that the contact details of the audiences are available in case they are needed for contact tracing.
  • The establishment should uphold targeted protective measures. These include ensuring that visitors can maintain social distancing whenever possible and clean their hands. Proper ventilation of the building and the frequent cleaning of surfaces can also help. The use of facemasks is an important complementary measure.

Source: European Commission and Coronavirus Response

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