Events, cultural sectors disappointed by expected lockdown relaxations
Events organizer ID&T is "deeply disappointed" about the leaked lockdown relaxations after "repeated calls to the Cabinet to come up with a fully-fledged and realistic plan," director Ritty van Straalen said. "With only one-third capacity, it is not a reopening. Staying closed for any longer, with no clear perspective, feels like a deep insult to our entire industry."
According to insiders, the Cabinet will allow a maximum of 1,250 attendees for indoor events with mandatory seating. Outside, events can fill the capacity to a maximum of one-third. The relaxations will be announced during a press conference on Tuesday evening.
"Despite the fact that these 'relaxations' make it seem like the event sector can open again, this is not the case," said Van Straalen. "The situation is untenable and, combined with the lack of perspective, has a very demotivating effect on our entire sector."
Van Straalen said that the company would continue to call on the Cabinet "to come up with a fully-fledged and realistic plan" for the industry. "Without social distancing and without capacity restrictions, to save the once-thriving event industry, and so that we can get out of this crisis together."
The cultural sector is also not happy with the leaked relaxations. A closing time of 10:00 p.m. "is impossible or very difficult to work with for many theaters and companies." So said Sanne Wallis de Vries, comedian and co-initiator of the protest action Hair Salon Theater.
"I find it incomprehensible that no exception is made for the theater sector," said Wallis de Vries. "If we can stay open until 11:00 p.m., then it makes all the difference to the sector and nothing to the virus and policymakers."
Opening is also not profitable if visitors have to keep 1.5 meters apart, she said. "In short: if the conditions are closing at 10:00 p.m and social distancing, that means many theaters will remain closed. And many players will not play. So it's a sham. And nobody understands why."
The other initiator of Hair Salon Theater, Diederik Ebbinge, agrees with Wallis de Vries, he said on Twitter. "We are very curious why the extra hour is not allowed for those who can play. That helps enormously. Bruls' argument of 'at the same time as the catering industry, that's easier to enforce' does not count," he said.
With Hair Salon Theater, several theaters in the Netherlands were converted into hair salons, massage studious, or beauty salons last Wednesday. Visitors could get a haircut or a facial while watching a performance. The theaters wanted to show that they could open as safely as contact professions, which the Cabinet reopened in the previous set of relaxations.
Reporting by ANP