Zimbabwe: Musical Gigs, Live Events Remain Banned

19 October 2020

Senior Arts Reporter

THE Government has approved a partial re-opening of cultural and creative industries with effect from last weekend, but musical gigs and other live events remain banned in the context of Covid-19 restrictions.

The sectors which have been cleared to resume their operations are exhibitions in galleries and museums, book launches, film production, art schools, arts and culture centres, visual art studios, music recording studios, drive-in cinema, studio recording for online publication and theatre houses for drama, dance, movies and spoken word.

According to National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director Nicholas Moyo, although some of the cultural and creative arts have resumed, musical shows are still banned.

"We are still guided by the policy of having 100 people at an event," he said. "Artistes can still do their private functions, but not exceeding 100 people and being guided by Covid-19 regulations.

"They cannot do shows as before because they are not yet opened unless they are doing a private function that should not also exceed 100 people and remember a private show does not have gate-takings, it is like a wedding or a party."

Moyo encouraged artistes to establish and adhere to the set Covid-19 prevention protocols and standard operating procedures at all times as they reopen their creative spaces.

"We would like to advise stakeholders that the Government has approved the partial re-opening up of low-risk sectors of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in line with Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Consolidation and Amendment) Order/2020," he said.

"We would like to thank all the stakeholders including the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ), Ministry of Health and Child Care, and the various players and captains of industry in the sector for their input in coming up with the standard operating procedures to guide the reopening of the sector."

Moyo said everyone should play a role in preventing the resurgence of local transmission cases with the re-opening of the arts sector.

He said those ready to resume business in the stated areas should apply with NACZ.

"They should apply with us and can be allowed to resume operations if the council is satisfied that they are able to adhere strictly to set Covid-19 transmission prevention protocols and the standard operating procedures (SOPs)," he said.

Moyo urged arts players to maximise the lockdown period by using the opportunity to be creative.

"As the sector is celebrating the relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions which have seen the CCIs dormant for the past six months, NACZ would like to encourage players in the sector to take advantage of the relaxation of the Covid-19 restrictions to go back to their creative spaces and engage in serious production for the sector to recover some of the opportunities lost due to the lockdown period," he said.

"After successfully lobbying for the sector's re-opening, the NACZ implores industry players to put the health of practitioners and consumers of CCI products at the forefront of their operations to avoid the sector becoming a vector in the transmission of the deadly virus."

Moyo said to maintain the low-risk status of the sectors which were re-opening, the Government approved standard operating procedures and ground rules for the players.

"Those re-opening should cover the following areas: sanitisation at the entrance at entry and exit points, temperature checks, wearing of face masks and shield by patrons and staff, register of all attendees for particular events, social distancing in set up and activities, sanitisation of physical objects/equipment within arts spaces, fumigation of premises before and after usage," he said.

"Audiences to conform to the 100 allowed for gatherings, selling of tickets in advance to control numbers, sale of alcohol at the venues, staff regular health checks for the testing of Covid-19 and the immediate closure of an arts space in case of Covid-19 cases detection."

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