Changes to two key schemes that support the live entertainment sector, while also signalling her intention to work closely with Government colleagues towards developing a re-opening plan for the sector, have been announced by the government.
Today, Culture Minister Catherine Martin reaffirmed her commitment to the full return of all live entertainment at the earliest possible date, having regard to public health developments, and has announced the following measures:
1. An extension to the deadline for using the LPSS (Live Performance Support Scheme) funding to the end of October, to take account of the fact that restrictions remain in place for the live events sector.
2. A new strand of funding for the MEBAS (Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme) for businesses with turnovers of between €15,000 and €20,000. This stream will provide grants of €1,500 for businesses who had business costs of at least €2,000 between 1 April 2020 and 31 May 2021. The portal for applications will open during August and stay open until the end of September.
In addition to these adaptations to existing schemes, Minister Martin is working with her Cabinet colleagues to provide certainty for the sector around a reopening plan at the earliest possible date. To this end, and following the opening of indoor hospitality which she has led on with An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, T.D., she has written to the Minister for Health and the Expert Working Group on Rapid Testing to establish if the Digital Covid Certificate, PCR testing and/or Antigen testing could play a role in the reopening of the live entertainment sector.
To support the industry through this difficult period the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media said that to date, €61.5m had been allocated for a suite of measures designed to sustain and support the sector, including:
- €25m Live Performance Support Scheme
- €14m Music and Entertainment Business Support Scheme
- €11.5m Event Sector Covid Support Scheme (funded via transfer from D/ETE Vote)
- €5m Local Authority Performance Support Scheme
- €5m Capital Support Scheme
- €1m Patricks Day Festival
Commenting on the sector more generally, Minister Martin said “I am acutely aware of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the live entertainment sector. The things we love and dearly miss like live concerts, plays, festivals etc. involve congregation and unfortunately COVID thrives in that environment. This has necessitated significant restrictions on live entertainment to protect public health. I have engaged with numerous stakeholders in the sector and listened and understand how distressing this extended period of inactivity has been for everyone involved in the live entertainment industry. Darkened theatres, silent venues, crews and artists out of work is something I hope to bring to an end and is my number one priority”.
The Minister added that while the suite of supports Government has provided are welcome, she fully understands that what the sector really needs is a clear path to reopening.
“In launching The Path Ahead the Government confirmed its commitment to developing a clear roadmap for a return of activities in the hardest hit sectors, including culture and arts. Government has already taken significant steps towards the full reopening of the economy and society, building on the acceleration in the vaccine roll-out.” Minister Martin said.
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