The Government has launched a new €2 million event assistance scheme under the tourism aid programme, with organisers able to benefit from both ticket matching and logistical support.
The initiative was launched by Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo and Culture Minister Jose Herrera, after an impromptu demonstration on Saturday morning by artists and event organisers.
Minister Bartolo expressed solidarity with the sector, acknowledging that it was among the most, if not the most, hard hit by the pandemic.
“We need to understand the genuine sentiment of these people who over the last year and a half were unable to work,” he said.
“That is why,” he continued, “it is with great satisfaction that we are launching this scheme to help artists and event organisers.”
Describing the scheme, which will run until the 31st August, he said it would work on two binaries, through ticket matching and cash grants for logistical support.
The ticket matching scheme will see organisers receive coupled support according to the number of tickets sold, with a cap of €15 per ticket.
Meanwhile, each ‘bubble’ of attendees makes the organisers eligible for a €1500 grant, for up to two bubbles per event.
Illustrating with an example, Minister Bartolo said that if an organised event with a capacity of 150 people is sold out, with each ticket costing €15, the organisers will receive the same amount raised through ticket sales via the ticket matching scheme, along with €3000 for the two bubbles attending.
Each bubble can have a maximum of 100 people.
Entry to events will remain restricted to those who can present a valid COVID-19 vaccine certificate.
Minister Herrera said the scheme is meant to help the creative sector with immediate effect, noting that the €2 million is anticipated to be used within a few weeks.
Reacting to the announcement, the Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association (MEIA), which has pushed strongly for a timeline for reopening, welcomed the scheme, saying it is “one of the things MEIA has fought for to support the limited audience allowed with the current restrictive measures”.
The Association however insisted that capacity in venues should be increased to 50 per cent of the maximum, as the current 25 per cent “makes it even more difficult to operate”.
It also noted that it is still awaiting a timeline to be announced for stand up events which would be able to participate in this scheme.
“Once again,” it said, “our recommendations for stand up events were to start with a capped audience from July.”
Finally, it stated its disagreement with mandatory vaccine certificates, saying that organisers should be free to accept those who present a recent negative PCR test.
MEIA advised its members to await further guidelines with more details on the scheme.
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