The blanket closure of clubs and art and culture events did not stop the surge in COVID-19 cases, leading music producer and entertainment lobby Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association president Howard Keith Debono told Lovin Malta.
Speaking on Lovin Daily, Debono argued that while there may have been some “irresponsible events” after lockdown was lifted in July, there were plenty more responsible ones.
“There were no outbreaks at all in most events, that is the truth. A month since events were banned and numbers are still going up,” he said.
“We were all surprised events were back on the table in July, but it was an explosion of trying getting back to pre-COVID times. That shouldn’t have happened and health authorities agree in hindsight,” he continued.
“Events were a factor of the surge in COVID-19 cases, but we can’t blame one club or an entire sector for it,” he said.
Debono heads the newly-founded lobby group for artists in Malta, the MEIA, which published fresh proposals for their sector that hasn’t gotten the attention it needs to survive six months since the pandemic began.
“While other countries placed their creative sector front and centre, Malta’s is left in the peripheries,” he said, warning that the pandemic just exasperated Malta’s long neglect for the industry.
These included more investment for the industry, tax breaks for companies that invest in the arts sector, tax cuts for artists themselves and COVID-19 “culture vouchers” for the public to spend.
During their press conference yesterday, Vice-President Toni Attard warned that the sector, which boasts over 4,000 full-time workers, could suffer a massive brain drain by the end of the year should their proposals be ignored.
What do you think of MEIA’s proposals?