COVID19 – Extraordinary Measures to Support the Cultural Sector of Catalonia

In light of the current pandemic caused by COVID-19 and its development since the initial outbreak, and with a view to protecting the cultural sector and minimising the damage the state of emergency has inflicted on its members, the Ministry of Culture urges the Government of Catalonia to adopt 20 specific measures that zero in on Catalonia's cultural sector and aim to complement the measures already taken by Catalonia's and Spain's respective governments.

Download the Cultural Sector Rescue Plan

The proposal put forth by the Ministry of Culture, which sees culture as an essential social asset, aims to compensate the cultural sectors for the negative ramifications of COVID-19; to minimise its effects on organisations, companies and groups working in these sectors, including freelancers, creators, artists and salaried staff; and to help the cultural sectors recover and return with renewed strength when the current situation ends. The series of measures laid out below must be processed and approved a number of times and will remain in force as long as the cancellation and/or reduction of programmed cultural activities takes place during the state of emergency and, thus, is the result of force majeure.

The relaxing measures for subsidies and grants aimed at curbing the effects of the cultural sector's forced shutdown following the countrywide lockdown have been in effect since the publication on 25 March 2020 of Decree-Law 8/1010, of 24 March 2020, and will remain valid until the state of emergency declared in Royal Decree 463/2020 to combat the health crisis brought on by COVID-19 is lifted, unless another term is otherwise established.


Measures aimed at individuals and organisations that are the beneficiaries of Ministry of Culture subsidies or lines of funding

The Ministry of Culture proposes a series of measures to avoid penalising the individuals, organisations and companies that are the beneficiaries of culture-related subsidies, both in terms of lines of funding that have already been awarded and subsidies that were called but have gone unresolved since the state of emergency came into force.

Further measures are proposed for the lines of funding intended to support activities that have been cancelled during this time and will be unable to reschedule.

Additionally, the Ministry suggests reorganising its budget and grant portfolio in order to prioritise the lines of funding aimed at alleviating the effects of the current health crisis on the cultural sectors.

Regarding subsidies and funding instruments awarded prior to the beginning of the state of emergency:

1. Grants granted during 2020 shall not be revoked.

2. Beneficiaries of grants will not be required a minimum percentage of expenses made and justified with respect to the total cost of the activity.

3. Extension of deadlines for executing eligible activities (or justification thereof).

Regarding subsidies and lines of funding, in the form of non-refundable contributions, called prior to the beginning of the state of emergency:

4. Reformulation of the rules regulating financial lines of support.

5. Terms and conditions for returning refundable contributions.

6. Increase the percentage of all grants by 10%, to inject more liquidity into companies and beneficiary entities.

Regarding the measures intended to provide specific support for activities (concerts, spectacles, festivals, fairs, etc.) that have been cancelled and will not be able to reschedule:

7. Guarantee the contribution of the Department of Culture for events, with the aim of avoiding additional damage to the contracted companies, mitigating the fall in contracts and the affecting the event workers and external suppliers.

Measures aimed at freelancers, companies and organisations in the cultural sector

Apart from the specific measures targeting existing Ministry of Culture funding, we urge the Government of Catalonia to put two additional lines of support in place to minimise the damage that the state of emergency has caused within the cultural sectors:

8. Promote, both from the Catalan Institute of Cultural Enterprises and the Office of Support for Cultural Initiatives, subject to budget availability, specific lines of support to compensate for the loss of profits of companies and entities from different cultural sectors, as long as it is a direct consequence of the measures prevention and control of COVID-19 infection adopted by the competent authorities or bodies.

9. Increase of transfers and subsidies to entities participated by the Catalan Ministry of Culture managing cultural facilities, so they can maintain a maximum level of employment.

Specific measures aimed at cultural companies

The Ministry of Culture is aware of the difficulties facing cultural companies from the performing arts, visual arts, audiovisual, publishing and book, music, and digital culture and heritage sectors, the turnover of which represents 3.5% of Catalan GDP. As a result, it has taken a series of measures targeting these companies specifically, which can be grouped into two main categories:

Financial support from the Catalan Institute for Cultural Companies (ICEC) to provide companies with liquid assets

10. Launch, together with the Catalan Institute of Finance, a specific ICF loan line for Culture Liquidity, totalling 10 million euros, to finance the working capital needs of companies in the cultural sector and provide them with liquidity. The Ministry of Culture will guarantee for 80 percent of all risks operations.

11. Create a grant line to finance the interest generated by the lack of first year of the loans mentioned in the previous point.

Specific support for strategic Ministry of Culture markets

12. In case of cancellation of any of the strategic markets, guarantee the contribution of Department of Culture, with the aim of avoiding additional damage to the contracted companies - with priority to Catalan companies -, mitigating the fall in hires and other negative impacts for workers of the event and for external providers.

13. Analyse and apply compensatory measures for the recruitment of artists programmed in these markets, taking their contracts of 2019 as a parameter.

Moreover, the Ministry of Culture, through the ICEC and the Office of Cultural Initiative Support (OSIC), will continue to advise and guide the companies and associations representative of the different cultural sectors in order to ensure the effectiveness of the proposed measures. In this regard, we will publish a guide summarising all of the grants and measures in place to alleviate the effects of COVID-19 in the near future.

Measures aimed at public libraries and reading promotion

Regarding Catalonia's network of libraries and the support it provides for the cultural sectors:

14. Strengthen the line dedicated to the purchase of books by the Library Service of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

15. Maintain the SAB procurement schedule to help minimize the impact of the SAB COVID19 in the book sector.

16. Increase the purchase of e-book licenses to meet current demand on eBiblio, which has soared over 500%.

17. Help local councils to maintain their purchasing programmes in bookstores.

18. Design of a program of activities to promote cultural consumption on the Net.

Measures aimed at revitalising culture

19. Support the celebration of a Book Day and the memorable rose at the moment that the evolution of the pandemic will allow, and in agreement with all the agents and sectors involved.

20. Support all initiatives in the world of culture that seek to accompany citizens, who live these days confined in their homes, with recommendations of readings, concerts, performances of all kinds, audiovisuals, music, debates, games, etc. through social networks and the Internet.

General measures put forth by Catalonia's and Spain's respective governments that may affect the cultural sectors

Beyond the measures proposed by the Ministry of Culture to the Government of Catalonia, the latter has already adopted (as has the Spanish government) a range of general measures that may be of help to the Catalan cultural sectors.

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Download the 20 Measures in PDF


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