The most affected industries from Romania are urging the public authorities to expedite the implementation of a compensation and recovery plan with solutions proposed by them05 April 2021 - Press release
The most affected industries from Romania – the live events, hospitality, independent artists, and entertainment industry workers have joined forces to demand clear measures from the national public authorities to reopen the sectors affected by the COVID-19 restrictions imposed in the last year.
16th of May 2021 marked one year since many important industries of the Romanian economy have been overwhelmingly affected or, in some cases, 100% affected by the restrictions imposed by the authorities in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this year, these industries have tried to have a dialogue with the Romanian authorities, showed openness in finding survival solutions, and waited for a response from the state representatives.
Representatives of the cultural industry (AROC, UNTOLD, ELECTRIC CASTLE, EMAGIC, TIFF, ARTMANIA, CLUJ CULTURAL CENTRE), of hospitality (HORA EMPLOYMENT ORGANISATION, TOURISM ALLIANCE, FEDERATION OF THE HOTEL INDUSTRY IN ROMANIA), independent artists, workers from the entertainment (ALIS, PACTE), and conferences industries sat down at a table in a press conference. They all demanded, in one voice, the authorities to issue a plan to provide predictability and to help reopen all these sectors much affected by the pandemic. These industries have united their forces and have demanded four measures:
- The necessity of a recovery plan to bring coherence and predictability.
- The urgent organization of an inter-ministerial working group to work on the plan of measures
- The organization of a decisional group led by the prime minister Florin Cîțu which can quickly approve the measures identified in the inter-ministerial working group
- Compensatory measures for the incurred losses
“ROMANIAN AUTHORITIES DO NOT LOVE THE SMILE INDUSTRY. IT CANNOT GO LIKE THIS ANYMORE!”
The representatives of the industries most affected by the pandemic have several discontents because Romanian authorities have taken few measures, inadequate and delayed. These industries haven’t been supported by a recovery plan, and this situation will undo all the progress made by all these sectors in the last years.
Bogdan Buta, UNTOLD Festival: „We are here with a constructive approach and to sound the alarm. We have solutions and measures, but we need commitment from our Government. It has certainly been a difficult year for everyone, however certain categories are effectively restricted from fundamental rights that are blocked without alternative and dialogue. We are as responsible as possible. As proof, we have been involved since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been proactive and we have donated our logistics to the Romanian hospitals. We are responsible entities and we want to help. The cultural sector was the first to be closed and is still suffering. Millions of people enjoy everything our industries have to offer. Behind these productions stand hundreds of employees, millions of euros attracted to our economy by this sector. All the European countries have come with compensatory measures for the cultural domain. It is very important to play by the same rules and to base our decisions on scientific solutions: rapid tests at the entrance, vaccination certificate, antibody certificate. We only need decisions.”
Mihai Păun, ELECTRIC CASTLE festival: “We are waiting the authorities to display the same responsibility and respect that we showed in the last year. We have prioritized safety, we have followed and respected all the rules, without getting anything in return. It is time for our authorities to respond with the same respect: to present a strategy that will allow us to settle for the next months and adopt compensatory measures for all the losses that we have suffered because of the imposed restrictions and which we will carry with us.”
Tudor Giurgiu, Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF): “Although TIFF has a formula of organization and a specific that will, theoretically, allow it to happen this summer, as in 2020, we stand with all our colleagues in the events sector, Horeca, seriously affected by the crisis, by the lack of concrete scenarios to allow them to resume their activity, in safe conditions. There is a lack of trust in all these people who are not beginners or do not care.”
Anca Lupes, INDIERO (Association of indie labels and music publishers): “Although recording industry has not been as much affected as the live industry, most of the independent artists are also independent labels & music producers and publishers too, and their main revenue source is live shows. So we stand by them and the live industry and urge the Romanian Government to come with a compensation plan ASAP and after that with a recovery plan that will help restart all cultural and creative industries affected by past and current restrictions.”
Dragoș Anastasiu, TOURISM ALLIANCE: “I thought about what unites us and how we can all have the same name, all of us staying here at the same table, and I think we can call ourselves the industry of experiences and smiles, because all of us here are bringing smiles on people’s faces. Now, in these times, we have a strange experience, with forced smiles. I have been in constant contact with the state authorities for the last year. We feel like a beautiful girl, walked through the park, seduced with a cake and a promise, but it seems that Romanian authorities do not love the smile industry. We only have promises that aren’t becoming concrete measures. After this pandemic, we will not have anyone to reopen restaurants, bars, and festivals with. From this point of view, the Romanian authorities do not love the smile industry. We need a decision-making forum and to meet with the line ministries who are deciding the rules. No more ping pong. It is necessary for the survival of the smile industry. We can help solve the pandemic, as long as we have almost 2 million people vaccinated, and millions of people who have antibodies and as long as we have the rapid tests, there is no real reason why these people cannot benefit from mobility and social presence, freedom of meeting again with their friends and smile and have live experiences. I think this message is clear. There is no reason not to sit at the table with authorities, especially since they haven’t been able to offer us ANY compensations for 1 year.”
EVENTS CAN BE SAFER THAN GOING SHOPPING
Steven Kruijff, GOODLIVE, was also invited at the press conference. He’s part of the team that organized the latest test event in Germany. Steven presented a part of the conclusions of this test, and he said that “after all the tests, with all the safety measures taken, such as rapid testing, proof of vaccination, antibodies certificates it turned out that people are safer at a festival than if they went to a local supermarket.”
The representatives of these industries are also calling for economic measures in line with the situation of the affected sectors: a fair state aid scheme, adopted as a matter of urgency, providing for fair compensations for all affected operators, regardless of the field of activity and form of action, and also, a national restart plan, with the involvement of specialists, and based on predictability.
Daniel Mischie, Hora Employment Organisation: “We are dissatisfied with the measures taken by the central administration and our feedback is negative. The HORECA operators have respected and followed these measures imposed by the authorities, however the authorities are not respecting what they have established together with the industry, what they have promissed to the industry. We demand that the authorities set an example by respecting the laws in force so that the industries can also respect these rules. Those who are not following the rules are exceptions that are aggressively exploited by the media. In Bucharest there are 10.000 locations that are waiting for a decision from the city prefect and scientific councils. We urgently need the financial compensations that have been promised to us for 2020, and also for 2021, as well as a concrete and achievable support plan.”
Călin Ile, Romanian Hotel Industry Federation: “The Romanian state does not have any action plan and people cannot make plans. You can’t apply the same measures for a sector that has fallen by 10% as for one that has fallen by 70% or even for completely closed sectors. We are demanding the authorities to assume a plan that allows predictability for operators, employees and the country’s population.”
THE LACK OF COMMITMENT BURRIES ROMANIAN BUSINESSES AND 1 MILION JOBS ARE IN DANGER
Dragoș Banu (PaCTE) and Bogdan Nedelcu (ALIS Association), representing both the employers in live production companies and the workers in the entertainment industry said that already 30% of those who worked in this field have changed their jobs and the rest of them are in extremely hard financial situation. Moreover, we risk reopening events and not having anyone to do our jobs if the state is late in action. In this context, in the future it will be possible to work exclusively with companies outside the country because the Romanian rental and production companies will cease to exist. In the same serious situation are the ticketing companies from Romania who have lost over 50% of their specialists.
“IN THE LACK OF A RECOVERY PLAN, THE LIVE INDUSTRY WILL BECOME A CIRCUS OF AMATEURS”
Independent artists and cultural operators are also highlighting the fact that their fundamental right to work is restricted, without being compensated in any way for the losses suffered in the last year. Ștefan Teișanu, the representative of Cluj Cultural Centre has pointed out that although the cultural industries contribute annually with up to 3% to Romania’s GDP, so far they have not received much support from the Government during this crisis.
Adrian Despot, artist: “The Government often asks for our support in various social and civil campaigns, when a message must be sent. But now who is helping us, the artists? Compensating our losses is the current emergency, and then we need a plan to restart. Without these, the last thing the musicians will do, will be to play the funeral march at the burial of our industry. All of my colleagues round this table represent companies or are professionals performing their jobs at the highest degree of quality. In lack of a recovery plan, without them, the live industry will become a circus of amateurs.”
Avi Cicirean, the representative of Brand Minds and the organizers of fairs and conferences stated, among other things, that “all of us here have so far fulfilled our dreams, but in the last year all turned into nightmares.”