Switzerland’s cultural industry has welcomed the federal government’s decision to allow audiences at concerts again amid a wider rollback of restrictions.
As of Monday (19 April), 50-capacity indoor shows and 100-capacity outdoor shows will be permitted but attendance cannot exceed one-third of the capacity of the venue. Food and drink will not be served.
Swiss Music Promoters’ Association (SMPA) hailed the move as “an important first step” but continues to call for a perspective on larger events.
Any public events scheduled between 1 June 2021 and 30 April 2022 which have ‘cross-cantonal importance’ will be covered by the Swiss government’s event cancellation scheme, thanks to a recent update in legislation.
Under the new scheme, organisers of major events who have a cantonal permit can claim back costs that aren’t covered by public support measures, insurance or cancellation agreements, if their event is cancelled or postponed due to government-enforced Coronavirus restrictions.
However, the prerequisites of the scheme – such as the need for a cantonal permit – seems to have left organisers and live associations more uncertain than ever about the viability of this year’s festival season.
THE SWISS MUSIC PROMOTERS’ ASSOCIATION HAILED THE MOVE AS ‘AN IMPORTANT FIRST STEP’
SMPA’s managing director, Stefan Breitenmoser, doubts whether organisers of major events will be able to secure cantonal permits far enough in advance of their events: “In reality, permits are only issued relatively shortly before the event during normal operations.”
Another concern is that the scheme does not cover events that can only be carried out to a limited extent.
Major Swiss festivals that have already pulled the plug on this year include Paléo Festival Nyon, Greenfield Festival, Rock the Ring, OpenAir St.Gallen, Gurtenfestival, Zermatt Unplugged, Caribana Festival and Thunerseespiele.
The rollback of restrictions comes despite the fact that the landlocked country’s epidemic “remains fragile and has even worsened in recent weeks”.
However, the government stressed in a statement, it “estimates that the risks associated with this easing are acceptable”.
Switzerland, a country of 8.6 million people, has to date counted more than 625,000 coronavirus cases and 9,790 deaths.
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