Quarantine seems to be over in Portugal, for now. Many industries and businesses are now working full on, even under special safety rules. But what about our social lives? Our Art, our Culture?
What is going on with the events in Lisbon?
As the Covid-19 crisis develops in Portugal, some clearly tendentious decisions taken by the national Government seem to be creating disparities to a whole new level of nonsense across industries and social activities.
To name a few, here is an overview of what is happening:
- Bull fights (which were recently discussed in the Parliament about whether they should be made illegal or not) are now authorized to happen with 50% capacity and use of mask, since the 1st of July.
- All Casinos have reopened early June, with legal consent to close only at 4am, selling alcohol to risk groups (elderly people) and showcasing DJs/Concerts.
- Since end of June, the borders of the EU have been open, and here in Portugal the Airline companies have been authorized to operate without any restriction in flights’ maximum capacity, nor from which countries the flights are coming from.
- Big shopping centers were allowed to reopen from the 14th of June onward, but small open-air commercial spots, like local fairs and traditional street markets, have only been authorized to happen few days ago.
- Festa do Avante!, a large-scale communist party gathering that takes place in Portugal every year around September, has been allowed to happen anyway on its 100.000 capacity, against all odds and social despair. Meanwhile, gatherings over 20 pax are not allowed, excluding weddings, religious masses or corporate events with all licences or taking place in open-air venues with limited capacity.
- In the meantime, theatres, cultural and social events and all types of venues related to leisure and arts/music have not yet received conclusive guidelines on how they can operate, leaving thousands of medium and small companies and event professionals in the verge of losing everything. Few, late and very low benefits have been released by the national Social Security in order to give some support to these people, who have lost all their work since March/April 2020.
A new rule, dating from early August, comes now to state that bars and nightclubs will be able to open with the same rules as the cafes: no dancefloors, with limited capacity, selling food and closing at 8pm. This can be very limiting or even unattainable, and will undoubtedly lead to permanent closure of an estimated 60% to 80% of the local nightlife/leisure venues, according to the national newspaper Expresso.
Foremost, besides all public transports being overcrowded and the borders full open to Tourism (with zero control over how many people enter from other countries), the council seems to believe that WE are the ones to blame for the most recent wave of infections. As the number of new cases slightly increased around early July, a local poster campaign took over downtown Lisbon blaming younger generations for attending “illegal raves”, and therefore, spreading the virus dangerously.
From here, we can conclude that the economy is being valued over people’s safety, and the principles of Capitalism seem to be widely applied, affecting the rights and freedom of us citizens and leading to what could be addressed as a sort of disguised Modern Dictatorship Era.
Fighting for our Scene
Somewhere last month, we heard about this Petition on the Portuguese radio Oxigénio. By Law in Portugal, any petition that reaches more than 4.000 signatures must obligatorily be discussed in the Parliament by all responsible entities and parties. You may contribute to fix this situation by signing the petition. Do it now, it takes less than a minute!
Recently, the Portuguese Sindicato dos Trabalhores de Espectáculos, do Audiovisual e dos Músicos proposed a list of measures to support the rights of the Arts and Audio-visual sector. In parallel, some of the local media is addressing these issues and criticize how they are being dealt by the Council and Government. If you can read Portuguese, here are 2 interesting articles posted by the local magazine VISÃO:
Last, but not least, something heartwarming and energizing happened few days ago. On Tuesday, the 11th of August, a movement empowered by the professionals of Technical Services for Events Worldwide took place in many cities in and outside Europe, in order to raise awareness for the negligent approach to the crisis in this sector.
In Lisbon, the protest took place in Terreiro do Paço, and was brilliantly organized by Associação Portuguesa de Serviços Técnicos para eventos. We considered it a good example of how to make a point peacefully and respectfully, without losing reason. If you didn’t have the chance to attend, click on the image bellow to see the video of the protest, which involved video mapping and a powerful visual setting.
Few other initiatives are taking place, here and there. It is time to make ourselves heard. Without compromising the health and safety on anyone, we want to be trusted to do our thing again.
Quick reminder: as far as we know, this virus is not “just a flu”, and has serious and long-lasting implications for the Human health. We are not stating that it shouldn’t be considered anymore – it SHOULD, always. But we , as a Society, must engage with measures and ways of living with the virus that don’t compromise whole industries and thousands of jobs, while big lobbies thrive. So stay patient, get informed and be active – it’s in our hands to do it the right way and show success rates.
We are now studying the best and safest way to bring back ELA in a post-Covid Era. Hopefully, reason and mindfulness will give hands and allow happiness and meaningfulness to return to our lives.
In the upcoming weeks, we will be posting a series of hand-picked DJ sets, recorded live at ELA or by the ELA Residents, in our FB Community group to keep the hopes and vibes up 💛
Stay in touch with us here: firstname.lastname@example.org