Covid support for cultural sector must continue after Oct. 1, aldermen say
The government announced that it is stopping most of its coronavirus support measures for businesses from October 1, but that would be disastrous for the cultural sector, the culture aldermen for Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht said in an opinion peace in the Volkskrant.
"It would be a tragedy if institutions were to collapse just before the finish line. What is lost now will not come back for years to come," aldermen Robert van Asten of The Hague, Said Kasmi of Rotterdam, Anke Klein of Utrecht, and Touria Meliani of Amsterdam wrote in the newspaper.
The Dutch economy may have recovered back to pre-pandemic levels, but that is not the case for the cultural sector, the aldermen wrote. "Even without social distancing, the consequences of the pandemic will linger for a long time." According to the Cultural and Creative Sector Task Force, coronavirus damages in the sector will amount to 2.8 billion euros this year, including 1 billion euros in the last half of 2021. Tourism is still at a standstill, and many cultural visitors are still hesitant to mingle with people.
"That's a big problem. Because a viable cultural sector is crucial for employment, quality of life and talent development in the Netherlands," the aldermen said. "As municipalities, we cannot compensate for these enormous losses, nor can we just start the recovery. But we also cannot afford not to take action now."
"That is why we are once again making a joint appeal to this entire cabinet. Because without additional support from the government, there will inevitably come a time this year when institutions such as the Hermitage, Ekko or Panorama Mesdag will have to close their doors again. But then forever"