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‘What Use Are Current Vouchers With Closed Venues?’ – MEIA Claps Back At Economy Minister’s Reply

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Malta’s current post-lockdown vouchers are “of no use to creative businesses with cancelled and postponed events”, the Malta Entertainment and Arts Association has said in response to Economy Minister Silvio Schembri’s assertion that anyone can use the blue vouchers on the arts.

“Whilst thanking the ministry for economy for acknowledging our proposals, giving value to the importance of the arts and entertainment sectors, MEIA is very aware that the blue vouchers can be used,” the entertainers’ lobby started. “But what use do they have when most venues are closed and restrictions make viability to produce events impossible?”

“This is also reflected in the fact that the restaurant vouchers had four times the usage than the other vouchers from the information we have,” the statement continued. “To this effect, MEIA proposed the 2x 10 Euro vouchers as one of the 10 measures which should be rolled out when audiences can return to more regular events.”

“This is why we’re highlighting the specificities of a sector that was first to close and will be the last to open.”

Earlier this week, the newly-established lobby group addressed a press conference with the Chamber of Commerce today, outlining a set of proposals to support artists and entertainers in one of the industries worst-hit by COVID-19.

“We can’t go back to a time when the art sector was non-existent,” Howard Keith Debono, President of the MEIA warned. “If no action is taken, all the work we’ve done in the last 25 years would have been for nothing.”

The Economy Minister’s reply came earlier today, with Schembri saying the €20 blue voucher, which can be spent on any non-touristic establishment, can already be redeemed at businesses related to the arts, culture and the education sector.

There are 4,924 people employed in the industry, including arts, entertainment, publishing, film, TV, sound, libraries and museums.

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