MEIA is disappointed to note that the guidelines for standing events, expected to start in two weeks with a capping of 100 people per cluster, increasing to 300 by the end of August, have not yet been published by the Health Authorities. Seated events are expected to be increased from the current 150 seats per cluster to 300 by mid August and 500 by the end of August. However, current guidelines also need to reflect such developments.
Lack of clarity continues to make it even more difficult for producers, promoters and organisers to plan appropriately for the reopening from the 16th of August. Until guidelines are published MTA cannot authorise risk assessments, VAT permits cannot be issued, and producers cannot commit to their event or confirm performers. As an industry that requires significant lead time to plan and implement events, Government is once again ignoring industry recommendations to ensure that the arts and entertainment can operate responsibly and sustainably. In addition, Government has failed to deliver its promise to support event organisers which are still unable to operate due to the restrictive measures. Since stand-up events were not given a green light prior to mid-August a one-time cash grant was agreed to but has still not been implemented. Other agreed actions were the provision of temporary plug-and-play venues, which were meant to be operational from the beginning of August, and the publication of updated guidelines on vaccine requirements for members of staff. Both actions remain undelivered.
As the country reaches its 85% population target of full vaccinations, MEIA firmly believes that the current restrictions should be lifted to allow increased capacity, reaching up to full capacity as part of a reasonable, staggered approach as recommended by MEIA since August last year. It is only then that the arts and entertainment sectors can truly start the process of recovery, build confidence in production capacity, and reengage audiences at sustainable levels of participation.
MEIA urges the Authorities to ensure that immediate attention is given to these concerns and calls upon Government to expedite all pending matters, since its ongoing shortcomings are affecting the lives and livelihood of professionals in the arts and entertainment sectors.