EU Commission guidelines on safe reopening of the cultural sector

© Arxiu Fotogràfic del Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges Two people wearing nose and mouth covering masks are looking at art hanging on the wall.

© Arxiu Fotogràfic del Consorci del Patrimoni de Sitges

On 29 June 2021, the European Commission launched guidelines on the safe reopening and resumption of activities in the cultural and creative sectors in Europe.

The guidelines aim to provide a coordinated approach in line with the specific national, regional and local conditions. Not only will the guidelines assist in the reopening phase, but also ensure that that the reopening will be lasting and contribute to sustainable recovery.

In a press release from the Commission, the Member States are invited to take full advantage of the Recovery and Resilience Facility to invest broadly in the sectors and increase their capacity to adapt to new trends and emerge from the crisis.

The key recommendations for safe and sustainable reopening include:

  • The lifting of all restrictions should be strategic and gradual, with a restricted number of participants at the beginning to assess the epidemiological situation;
  • Cultural establishments should have a preparedness plan detailing protocols of actions when COVID-19 cases are detected;
  • Targeted information and/or ad-hoc training should be made available for all staff in cultural establishments to minimise risks of infection;
  • Vaccination of persons working in cultural settings should be promoted to ensure their and the public's protection;
  • Participants can be asked proof of negative COVID-19 test and/or vaccination and/or COVID-19 diagnosis in order to be admitted to the venue. Depending on the local circulation of variants, this requirement can be extended to fully vaccinated individuals;
  • Establishments should ensure that the contact details of the audiences are available in case they are needed for contact tracing;
  • The establishment should put in place targeted protective measures: maintaining social distancing whenever possible, clean and accessible hand-washing facilities, appropriate ventilation, and frequent cleaning of surfaces. The use of facemasks by attendees is an important complementary measure.

At the launch event, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “Culture helped people cope with the impacts of lockdowns and social distancing. It is now our turn to accompany the sectors in their path to reopening. We need coordinated and tailor-made efforts across the EU to allow the culture world to safely and gradually resume its activities and be more prepared for future crises. Thecultural and creative sectors are strong European assets and are important for Europe's sustainable recovery, increased resilience of European society, and more generally, our European way of life.”

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel said: "The cultural and creative industries and sectors have paid a heavy toll since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. At the same time, the crisis highlighted their importance for our society and economy. With the increased vaccine uptake, gradual lifting of restrictions, including in the field of culture is taking place. The aim of these guidelines is to facilitate coordination of Member States' measures at EU level. Simultaneously, a safe re-opening of cultural settings should go hand in hand with a range of actions to ensure the sustainable recovery and resilience of the entire sector.”