Well known DJ Joven Grech – known better by his stage name Tenishia – is leading a parliamentary petition which is calling for a reopening plan for mass events following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The petition is based of off a disappointment that people in the entertainment industry are being “denied the liberty to protect our livelihoods and get back to work”, noting that the situation now – with the vaccination programme as it is – is very different to what it was earlier in the pandemic.
The petition came after Valletta Cultural Agency chairman Jason Micallef announced that he had been told that mass and cultural events would not be allowed throughout the whole of summer.
“Thousands of highly-skilled workers and their families have been impacted. More than one year of no paychecks, severely reduced revenues and monthly wages, not to mention the severe mental health challenges experienced by out-of-work artists, audiovisual experts, event management companies, cleaning professionals, and many others”, the petition read.
“We are calling on the Public Health Authorities and the Government to explore all possibilities for the safe and successful reopening of the Entertainment Industry, just as it did with all other sectors of the economy”, it continues.
The petition notes that other countries, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain, have successfully trialled events which have shown that live events can be restarted safely.
The petition made three specific requests:
“A timeline of restrictions, with capacity gradually eased over several weeks. We suggest that these should start being put in place as from 1st July 2021; a date to be acknowledged as from now in order to plan accordingly”, is the first.
The second is a discussion with health authorities on the methods of entry to events, such as using a system where only fully-vaccinated customers can be accepted.
“Events will be gated, and thus there will be control on all attending. This will allow all organisers and venues to verify if attendees are fully vaccinated, and also gather the details of attendees in case of future communication if required. Any data gathering will be done in accordance to GDPR rules”, the petition reads in its third point.
“We have no political agenda. We represent a complete supply chain, contributing to 7.9% of Malta’s GDP, that has been left in the dark. Our industry provides a rich calendar of cultural and social events throughout the year, and strengthens Malta’s positions as a tourist destination”, the petition concludes.
Health chief Charmaine Gauci was non-committal when asked on Friday to confirm whether events will be permitted for the summer, saying simply that now is not the time for mass events to take place.
The petition was opened on Friday, and – at the time of writing – had already mustered 1,444 signatures.