The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture has affirmed its commitment to working with stakeholders in the creative industries on plans to resume activities.
“The department is aware of the frustration and challenges that are faced by practitioners of the sector. Government is doing everything it can while ensuring relevant regulations are adhered to,” the department said.
On Thursday, the department met with representatives of the South African Communication Industries Association (SACIA) to discuss the protocols developed by the organisation to enable staff in the technical and live-events industry to return to work safely, as well as ensure the safety of people attending events.
The meeting was scheduled to address the technical and live-events sector specific challenges imposed by COVID-19 and the national lockdown.
“The meeting forms part of a series of engagements the department has held with various sector organisations within the Sport, Arts and Culture space including Cultural and Creative Industries Federation of South (CCIFSA) in addressing relief of distress for the sector as well as its economic sustainability and impact of COVID-19 on the sector.
“The meeting further deliberated on the Directions Published by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture on 28 August 2020, on opening sport, arts and culture activities and the creative economy,” the department said.
SACIA presented the stringent safety measures and protocols they have put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at events organised by any of their affiliated member organisations.
The measures include the prohibition of the consumption of alcohol at events with over 300 participants, and a further safety plan for 1000 participants (drive-ins) for the department’s consideration.
In addition to the normal National Corona-virus Command Council (NCCC) protocols, SACIA proposes the use of technology such as electronic capacity monitoring systems, to track how many participants are at events at any given time.
“SACIA informed the department that the organisation would proceed with testing of the protocols as soon as they are endorsed by government, in order to demonstrate their ability to secure the safety of workers and participants at events.
“They further informed the department that they wanted the regulations on the number of participants at events, currently set at 50 people, to take into consideration the size / area or total capacity of venues and not the current 50 participants’ restriction, as this does not ensure that safety protocols of social distancing are respected,” the department said.
In responding to the association, the department expressed a need to rather use percentages than absolute numbers of the capacity density as a measure and committed to using the two weeks before 15 September as the window of opportunity to engage and consult on the plan.
The department further emphasised the need to ensure that the whole value chain that is involved in putting together a successful event, is covered in the plan.
Establishment of a team
“The department has established a team to work on the inputs that will be taken forward in engaging key government structures.
“It is important to mention that in engaging with the SACIA, there was a mutual agreement that while it is important for government to open the economy and allow industries to begin going through a recovery process, it is also of equal importance that the livelihoods of people are protected,” the department said.
All measures should be taken to minimise the risk of the spread of infections and the possible second wave of COVID-19 infections.
“The department is very concerned about the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the events sector and we welcome efforts by SACIA to develop efficient safety protocols.
“As a department we remain committed to work with the SACIA and all other stakeholders to find a positive solution to the challenges the industry is facing said the Director General,” the department said. –SAnews.gov.za