The publication of the de-escalation plan resolution in the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat de Catalunya (DOGC) has caused moments of confusion and anger in the live music sector on Saturday. Despite the fact that on Thursday it was announced that concert halls could reopen as of next Monday, the DOGC text published at noon eliminated this possibility, curbing expectations of a recovery in the music sector. However, a few hours later the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed that concert halls will be able to open, and that there was a technical nomenclature error that grouped concert halls with music venues, discotheques and music bars. The Government will change the resolution before Monday. Concert halls have been closed for eight months, more than 4,350 concerts have been cancelled, and there are losses of 43.5 million euros compared to 2019.
Before receiving the news of the rectification, the manager of the Associació de Sales de Concerts de Catalunya (ASACC), Carmen Zapata, had declared that she hoped that the ban on reopening music halls would be "a monumental error" and that it would be amended as soon as possible. "Everyone hoped to be able to reopen because it was announced that way, and it is reflected in statements by the entire Generalitat, from the vice president to Minister Budó and the Department of Culture", says Zapata. "It even appeared in the schedule that was published two days ago... We were guaranteed that we would open and that we would do so with a maximum of 500 people. Now we cannot understand how a cultural recovery can be made without including concert halls, because that would mean that we are not considered cultural spaces". Of the 85 halls associated with the ASACC, Zapata says that about 40 planned to reopen next week. "For these halls, many of which are self-managed, being able to reopen was key to their survival."
Tickets will not be authorizations to skip lockdown
The resolution published by the DOGC reversed the announcement of an exception in the mobility restrictions which stated that, starting from next week, citizens could break the territorial weekend lockdown (municipal in the first section of the de-escalation, regional in the second) to go to the theater or the cinema. The new measures, which come into play next Monday, have eliminated this point.
The news comes as a strong blow for festivals such as the Temporada Alta, which receives a significant part of its audience from adjacent municipalities and regions. Without this exception, for example, the public of Girona will not be able to attend the events programmed in Salt, such as the video installation Personalien, by Albert Serra, which can be seen in the Factoria Cultural Coma Gros. The impossibility of breaking the municipal lockdown also challenges the reopening of some regional cinemas whose audience comes mostly from surrounding municipalities.
However, the exception to the night-time curfew when attending cultural events has been confirmed. This will allow the audience of cultural events to break the time curfew and return home after 10 pm, provided that attendance can be demonstrated with the entrance ticket of the event. In the first part of the de-escalation, which begins on Monday and which will last two weeks, cinemas, theatres and auditoriums will be able to reopen with a capacity limited to 50%. As for museums, libraries and exhibition halls, they will remain open, and their capacity will be increased from 30% to 50%.
A small change for the hospitality industry
The plan published by the DOGC eliminates the measure for bars and restaurants that established that, in the period comprised from 6 pm to 9:30 pm, they could only be open to serve dinner. In the final text, this limitation disappears and, therefore, the opening hours of bars and restaurants will be until 9:30 p.m. without further specification.
As for school activities, those that take place outside of school hours, and either inside or outside the center, can be done with a maximum of six students. This measure also applies to authorized music and dance centres, and others that teach non-regulated education. In the case of non-competitive sport activities organized by schools, school sports associations or sports entities, they can be carried out respecting the necessary sanitary measures, according to the DOGC. Regarding free time, one can do outdoor activities and, indoors, it is necessary to respect the maximum number of six people per group.
The DOGC published on Saturday the details of the entire de-escalation plan, which contemplates - from this Monday on - the resuming of activity in places such as bars and restaurants, which will be able to open until 9.30 pm with terraces at 100% of their capacity - and with a 30% capacity inside.