The culture and events sector have reiterated their demand to relax the current coronavirus restrictions and switch to ‘code orange’ on Belgium’s coronavirus barometer from 12 February.
In light of the Belgian Music Week this week, over 100 concert halls, nightclubs, booking offices and other suppliers or organisers signed an open letter to the Government to underline the urgency of relaxing the current rules.
“We are bleeding our last blood, to wait any longer now is culpable negligence,” reads the letter, which is published on the website of the Ancienne Belgique (AB) concert hall. “We urge you not to wait any longer and to switch to code orange on 12 February.”
The signatories underlined that every week counts, and that in other major concert countries (like France, England and Denmark), shows can already take place without any significant restrictions. “The music and nightlife sectors exist in an eminently international context and there is a danger that artists will simply skip Belgium.”
Even in code red of the barometer, some relaxations entered into force for theatres and cinemas before the weekend, as theatres can allow 70% of their capacity for a seated audience, but indoor concerts and nightlife are still prohibited.
While the signatories stated that while they can reopen for a seated audience, “this is not only a very loss-making model, it also ignores the soul of what we do: pop music and nightlife cannot be experienced while sitting still.”
“A bloodbath is taking place among artists, staff and suppliers alike,” the sector stressed, adding that they have not yet seen anything of the promised support measures that would be linked to the barometer.
“We are the last in line, but it really is time now,” they concluded.