The Malta Independent 21 September 2021, Tuesday

‘Sacrificial lamb of the pandemic’: MEIA calls for compensation for cancelled events

Thursday, 5 August 2021, 15:54 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association (MEIA) have lamented on how their industry remains “the only one suffering from sustained discrimination”, seeing as Malta’s health authorities still haven’t permitted the resumption of standing events, which they state is crucial to their proposed reopening plan.

This comes on the day that the government announced an increased cluster capacity for seated events in Malta from 200 to 300 from the 16th of August and then to 500 from the 30th of August – but said that standing events would have to wait.

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It’s a change of direction: Health Minister Chris Fearne had initially said that he had hoped that standing events would be allowed as from 16th August.

The association expressed their indignation through a press statement on their Facebook page.

Whilst displaying their appreciation for the Health Authorities endurance to realise a high vaccination rate among Malta’s adult population, they lament that their industry remains the only one that requires vaccine certification for both staff and clients to attend open air seated events; thus making them “the only industry that is being used as the sacrificial lamb of the pandemic.”

In portraying that standing events, like seated events, come in various formats ranging from small corporate events of 50 people to concerts hosting thousands, all of which can operate in different roll-out stages and with protocols that are similar to those of other industries and proven to be successful on an international level they stated that nonetheless, no distinction is being made between the different types of standing events, and that they believe some, such as corporate events, are of a much lower risk than others and should commence.

They remarked that in spite of these restrictions, illegal standing events are taking place, which as they express, continue to be “uncontrolled, unsupervised, and unrestrained” by local authorities.

Seeing as they are still awaiting the government’s financial schemes which they were promised weeks ago, MEIA are calling on the government to issue the following measures:

1. Financial support to operators that still cannot operate due to the on-going restrictions;

2. A compensation scheme for events that once again need to be cancelled;

3. A road map till the end of year;

4. A seat compensation scheme for theatres and cinemas to address the enforced limitations on seating capacity;

5. A review of guidelines to ensure a sustainable approach on seating capacity with distinctions made between face to back audiences as opposed to the face to face in restaurant with non-vaccinated patrons;

6. A classification of standing events according to different risk factors;

7. A guarantee facility for all type of events to encourage producers and promoters plan for the coming months.

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