Cultural institutions hit by the coronavirus pandemic will be supported along the lines they were in the first wave during spring, Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) told ETV current affairs show "Esimene stuudio" Tuesday evening.
Lukas noted that the 50 percent occupancy requirement means that theaters' etc. revenues will fall by about the same amount. The state as a result will not cut its support, and will ensure the theaters with at least this amount, he said.
"The ministry has made the calculations and I am initiating a new crisis package. The loss of revenue has to be compensated. just like in spring," Lukas noted.
Lukas says he understands those people who say that no outbreak has begun in theaters or concert halls and thus that they are being unfairly targeted when the half-occupancy rule was reestablished.
"I have also always talked about how there aren't cases in theaters and at concerts, that they are safe. At the same time, we have to say that even with the new restrictions, Estonia has the most open cultural life in Europe. We are an oasis in that sense. People are behaving well, we can see that. Why we have to limit things a little bit, then, is that we want to curb the movement of people getting to events, for example by using public transport," Lukas said.
Lukas added that there an army of unemployed people in the cultural area is not going to materialize. "There won't a dramatic fall in jobs. Regarding freelancers, their situation is more difficult. We'll see where the crisis is heading. If it deepens, we will have to offer freelancers an additional crisis package," Lukas said.
€25 million, the cost of the culture crisis package in spring, has been spent as of now.
Lockdown in Estonia is one of the alternatives
Commenting on the new, stricter rules, Lukas said, that lockdown has been on the government's table, but so far, the public has proven with their behavior that it is not necessary.
Lukas said that the knowledge that a vaccine is impending will help to save the country from further, additional measures. If we can wait for vaccines now, it will be easier psychologically. Then we will not have to wait until the spring to end all restrictions, but life will open up faster," he said.
Editor: Roberta Vaino