Here is the full open letter:
The unexpected and unannounced announcement of a possible closure of the cultural sector encourages the Ghent cultural sector to adopt the following common position. This is also followed in the rest of Flanders.
No one can be blamed for the fact that the virus is taking hold of us unexpectedly. Ignorance is human and part of the pandemic. Only, Corona frustrates our lives for a year and a half and still no one tells us what it is about. Where do most cluster infections occur? What are the risks for CST-controlled people watching a show in a well-ventilated room with a mouth mask? How much freedom would a virus get in a nightlife event if everyone had taken a negative self-test beforehand? Is there evidence of increased infections after visiting the museum?
Driven by improvisation and panic in football, many political actions seem to lack any factual basis, by evaluating the lesser of two evils, the path of least resistance. Shouldn’t politics focus on achieving the best outcome?
Everyone is willing to commit to actions that are based on facts. After 18 months of contracting the virus, this seems like a logical question to us. Yesterday an idea was launched to cancel all internal events. wait! And why? Due to the lack of scientific support, this again comes as an arbitrary measure. “We have to do something.”
Can’t you expect that thousands of people who put their hearts and souls into the culture, sports and events sector and hundreds of thousands of visitors every day, continue to play this game of token politics? Such a decision hints that the contagion engine lies in the culture, sports and events sector. If so, they are supposed to close us in October. If there is evidence, we will close immediately. Only, none (yet).
Dozens of testing events were organized in the spring. What were the results of that? What have we learned about rapid testing, ventilation and social distancing? Several halls have prepared notarized dossiers for CIRM (Covid Infrastructure Risk Model) certification from both the Mayor and the Minister of Culture. Limited capacity, hosts, ventilation, hygiene measures, distance rules, communication,… Quick tests have recently been introduced in the nightlife sector.
The panic calls yesterday afternoon made it seem like it was just for laughs. We will have to learn to live with the virus. This is a clear. Until the coming years. If we are to do this together, established politics is a guiding principle and recognition of everyone’s need for social contacts, for beauty and wisdom, is essential.
The cultural sector is an ally here, not an enemy. Shutting us down now won’t solve anything. It offers no perspective and is for the most part evidence of unfounded muscular politics. We no longer wish to present that evidence. Our industry has taken a mature stance from the start to learn to live with the virus. Despite the constant processions in the rules and regulations. For our artists, employees and the general public, we must stop the policy of blinking lights.
That is why the cultural sector decided to remain open in a safe manner. If only this were to offer thousands of people some guidance and perspective in these troubling times.
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