Culture establishments: Closing culture will not stop virus from spreading

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Kumu Art Museum. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The Estonian state's new restrictions on arts establishments disregard antiviral measures introduced by said institutions already in spring last year as well as their contribution to preserving visual culture, the arts facilities said in a joint statement to the government on Monday.

"We feel that we have been subjected to unjustified unequal treatment under circumstances where we contribute daily to the fight against the virus together with the rest of the society, perform a supporting role in maintaining the society's mental balance and regard our field of work as well as the situation in the state and the world with great responsibility," the arts institutions said, adding that the closure of the field of culture as a whole is incomprehensible and unfounded.

"The spread of the virus does not depend on the field but on the movement and behavior of people and room layout in each individual activity. From this perspective, stores and museums are relatively similar, which is why it is incomprehensible why shopping malls have been permitted to remain open on the condition that they implement supplementary trust measures, whereas museums and exhibition halls have been required to close regardless of there being a very small risk of infection when the correct trust measures are used," the art establishments said.

"As it has been found at the government's level that even visiting museums and galleries in dangerous in the present situation in terms of the spread of the virus, it would be fair and reasonable to also close all other places that similarly produce close contacts. The closure of culture alone will not prevent the spread of the virus. For that reason, we propose that the Government of the Republic close the Estonian society for the coming month to a much larger extent than now," the statement reads.

The joint statement has been signed by the Estonian Artists' Association, Art Museum of Estonia, Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center, Kai Art Center, Tartu Art Museum, Tallinn Art Hall, Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, Tartu Artists Union, Temnikova and Kasela Gallery, Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia, Estonian Center for Contemporary Art, Narva Museum, Juhan Kuus Documentary Photo Center, Nelja Nurga Galerii (Four Corners Gallery), Kogo Gallery, Ruki Gallery and the town of Haapsalu.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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