Cultural centres won’t lose their subsidies for opening in violation of coronavirus measures
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Cultural centres won’t lose their subsidies for opening in violation of coronavirus measures

Credit: Belga

Cultural venues that reopen next week despite the current ban in place as a result of the global pandemic will not be deprived of their subsidies, the French-speaking culture minister Bénédicte Linard said on Friday.

“It is out of the question to withdraw subsidies from cultural operators,” Linard said on Bel-RTL when asked if she would sanction those who plan to rebel against the measures.

Linard says the cultural sector is “rightly” protesting.

“They are right to make themselves heard,” she said.

A few hours before a new consultation committee, which is due to examine the fate of a cultural sector that has been at a standstill for more than six months, the French-speaking minister said that culture is not only the solution to the mental health problems that have arisen as a result of the confinement measures, but also that a reopening makes sense in terms of public health.

Tired of the health measures, Belgians are deconfining themselves.

It’s therefore preferable that this relaxation takes place in cultural venues under strict health protocols rather than in an uncontrolled manner, Linard argued.

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Asked whether she herself would attend any of the shows put on by the rebelling artists, Linard said no.

“As a minister, I have a responsibility to make sure that all the artists are aware of their rights, but also as a minister, I have to respect the rules,” she said.

In the wake of the “Still Standing for Culture” movement, some 80 cultural venues announced that they would resume their programming without waiting for a green light, and defy the ban on opening.

The institutions concerned – including the National Theatre, the Théâtre de Poche, Le Public, de l’Ancre and the Galeries, Palace, Vendôme and Quai 10 cinemas – will offer a wide range of activities between 30 April and 8 May, in compliance with health protocols.

Several hotel and catering establishments have also announced their intention to reopen their terraces on 1 May, and not on 8 May as decided by the authorities.

If café and restaurant owners defy the ban, they’ll lose the monetary support to which they’ve been entitled, warned this week the Federal Minister for Health, Frank Vandenbroucke.

The Brussels Times