In a hard-hitting statement, the Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association warned that the health authorities’ actions are harming the livelihoods of several people, reducing Malta’s attractiveness to tourists, and ultimately depriving the people of Malta of entertainment events for another summer.
An extraordinary meeting of the MEIA’s Executive and Advisory committees will convene on Monday to agree on “bold actions” that will be taken if their concerns are not addressed.
“We are deeply concerned about the systemic and discriminatory approach taken by the Health Authorities towards the sectors,” the MEIA said.
They insisted that the COVID-19 exit strategy should allow outdoor events, with the same mitigation measures implemented last summer, strict border controls to reduce imported cases, and the roll-out of a ‘vaccine passport’ for attendees.
“Whilst no one in the event industry is expecting a green light for thousands of people for events this year, MEIA insists that the arts and entertainment industry should not be used as a trade-off to ease off other restrictions considering the majority haven’t worked since March 2020, but rather implement the staggered approach,” it said.
Given the immense success of Malta’s vaccination programme, it also called for standing events within controlled environments to be included in the exit strategy.
“It is illogical not to exploit a vaccination certificate structure for events. We firmly believe that it is safer to have limited groups of people in controlled environments, following strict mitigation measures, than uncontrolled gatherings of people seeking alternative entertainment.”
As for the ban on DJs from performing at hotels, restaurants and lidos, the MEIA called for this rule to be revoked immediately.
“Sound decibel levels could be used as guidance without discriminating against the type of music being performed. If anything, events could be categorised through risk assessments from low risk to high risk. Placing everyone in the same boat is unacceptable. We call on the authorities to revoke the ban with immediate effect.”
A parliamentary petition calling for the return of events in a safe manner has so far been signed by around 1,900 people.
Cover photo: Left: Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci, Right: MEIA President Howard Keith Debono