The Flemish government has spent €194 million to help keep businesses in the cultural sector afloat as they battled Covid-related shutdowns and mandated infrastructure changes to remain open.
During the pandemic, Belgium’s culture industry has been subjected to regulations that have seen dramatic drops in business. Flemish member of Parliament Cathy Coudyser (N-VA) compiled the aid tally from several aid programs, Belga News Agency reports.
“These figures show that the government has made substantial commitments to provide for the various needs of the sector and enable it to weather the crisis,” Coudyser said.
Coudyser added that financial aid distributions were made via the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Enterprise (VLAIO), the Department of Culture, and the value of corona premiums paid to workers in the culture industry.
Closing culture industry regrets
Coudyser’s release comes days after Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon said that shuttering the culture industry just before Christmas was “not the best decision the authorities ever made.” Jambon is also the Flemish Culture Minister.
In December, large crowds gathered in Brussels protesting the shuttering of cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys, and other indoor gatherings. Such venues are now permitted to operate, but with several restrictions, including capacity limits and mask requirements for all attendees.