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Lithuanian Creative industries sector seeks gradual reopening of cultural institutions in April

Fifteen Lithuanian cultural and creative sector (CCI) associations united their efforts to assist the Lithuanian Government in taking necessary steps toward reopening of cultural institutions. Lithuanian creators understand difficulties the experts from outside the CCI sector experience evaluating preparation of the cultural sector for the upcoming phase of gradual reopening. Creators express their confidence in the efforts of the Minister of Culture, Simonas Kairys and his team. The representatives of CCI sector proposed the Government to organize a working group made of the Ministry of Health Care, Ministry of Economics and Innovation and experts of CCI sector. Proposed working group would draw up a specific plan of reopening of creative and cultural institutions and activities to be launched in April 2021.

In December 2020 the Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė presented the Lithuanian Government Programme which clearly stated importance of the CCI sector in economics, mental health, education and social life. The Programme acknowledged that the cultural and creative economy was one of the most affected by the Covid-19 crisis. In the Programme the Government affirmed its promise to safeguard the CCI sector, support and encourage its development.

The Government plan of the CCI sector reopening was bound to such factors as: data on 14-day notification rate of new Covid-19 cases per 100 000 population and Covid-19 testing results. Also, evaluation of the CCI sector conditions was carried out applying the most severe counting algorism while decision to open business and shopping centers was carried out under different criterion. The representatives of the CCI sector lacked of the arguments why it was so.

The fifteen Lithuanian CCI sector associations and the whole cultural sector in general observe the practices applied in the CCI sector in Europe, the changing epidemiological tendencies in Lithuania, preparation process of vaccination plan, statistics of Covid-19 recovered patients, immunity to Covid-19 in the society and other data. The representatives of CCI organizations requested the Government to provide the specific emergency plan, review of the reopening dates of cultural events and allocation of the coronavirus response instruments for the CCI sector.

The planning phase of preparation works for the reopening of the cultural sector is essential for everyone in the sector. Cultural events cannot just happen next day after the decision of reopening. In order to have events and concerts in summer, the organizers should do gradual and consistent planning. Some of the activities such as rehearsals, casting and others should be reopened now.

During the previous lock down the Lithuanian cultural sector proved its readiness and ability to work safely, respond properly to all requirements and guarantee safeguard of both, employees and visitors. The sector worked hard to become well prepared for the second wave of coronavirus. It can assure the readiness for the phase of gradual reopening and offer the society to broaden the ways of its leisure and recreation.

Lithuanian creators, united and in the spirit of mutual respect, aim to effectively communicate the cultural value and consider the experience of the first lock down in Lithuania and the world. The Government idea expressed in the Programme – “individual and society‘s quality of life changing culture“ – provides a direction to move on and continue learning to live facing current and future challenges.

The Government Programme states: “Culture, art, creativity and talents are the ultimate resources of Lithuania which determine development of mature and free individual and society. <…> Strong civic society cannot exist without appreciation to culture, free and independent, which provides obvious economic value, creates workplaces and effectively communicates the news about Lithuania in the world, is part of diplomatic relations and relations with diaspora“.

Audronis Liuga, Chair of Theater and Concert Institution Association.

Živilė Diawara, Chair of the Board, National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries.

Martynas Tyla, Chair of Association “Music Awards of the Year”.

Raimundas Bilinskas, Lithuanian Film Projectionists Association.

Audrius Dūdėnas, Association of Film Industry.

Gintarė Masteikaitė, Association of Non-governmental Performing Art Organizations.

Valdas Petreikis, Chair of Association of Events Industry.

Algirdas Barniškis, Lithuania Festival Alliance.

Raimundas Balza, Chair of the Board, Association of Lithuanian Museums.

Diana Stomienė, President, Association of Lithuanian Art Galleries.

Vida Garunkštytė, Chief of Association of Lithuanian Regional Libraries.

Jonas Tertelis, Chair of the Board, Association of Cultural Managers.

Agnė Begetė, Director, Lithuanian Neighbouring Rights Association.

Vaidotas Stackevičius, Chief, Lithuanian Music Business Association.

Romas Matulis, President, Lithuanian Cultural Centers Association.