The coronavirus remains unstoppable and the number of infections grows exponentially day by day. While transmission cases are decreasing in China, they are skyrocketing in Europe to the point that the World Health Organization have already established the old continent as the new epicenter of the pandemic. The measures taken to try to contain the spread of Covid-19 in western countries are tightened, and thus, on Saturday, March 14, the Spanish Government decreed a state of alarm throughout the national territory. A decision that is applied with a duration of 15 days, but in view of the gravity of the situation, it is quite likely that it will be extended. Just look at the numbers, in 7 days, from Thursday, March 12 to Wednesday, 18 of the same month, the number of cases in Spain has increased by 12,000.
State of alarm
The state of alarm applied by the Government of Pedro Sánchez to tackle the health crisis consists of limiting the movement of people, prohibiting the departure from home except in strictly necessary cases such as going to work, caring for dependent people, the pharmacy or buying food products. On Monday 16, the borders of the territory were closed. Likewise, museums, archives, libraries and monuments ceased their activities. In addition to venues and establishments where public shows, sports and leisure activities take place. Measures aimed at prevent crowds of people that also affect, of course, party rooms, clubs, bars with live music, auditoriums, concert halls, theaters, stadiums and any other type of venue where musical activity takes place.
More cancellations and postponements.
In a previous post we already mentioned how, in Spain, in addition to the suspension of dozens of concerts, the Madrid Pop Fest, the Marearock and the Iruña Rock had canceled their 2020 edition due to the advance of the virus. To these has been added the Fuzzville!!! Benidorm, whose sixth edition was to be held on the 27th, 28th and 29th of this month. While other events such as the Primavera Trompetera, the Viña Rock and the SanSan Festival have postponed their celebration. Meanwhile, major events such as Bilbao BBK Live and Mad Cool, scheduled for July, continue. Primavera Sound has the same intention, scheduled for the first week of June and this year celebrates its twentieth anniversary. However, given the prevailing uncertainty, the brand management has announced that as plan B, it is managing the possibility that the event may have to be delayed for a few weeks.
Some major consequences.
In addition to a health crisis, coronavirus is already a serious social and economic crisis. Focusing on the live music sector, the Spanish Music Federation (Esmúsica) has produced a report that offers unflattering prospects. As indicated, all music festivals scheduled between March and September are at risk of cancellation. That together with the suspension of concerts not only organized by promoters, but also by City Councils for the celebration of their patron saint festivities, put the live music industry in check. We are talking about estimated losses that reach 764 million euros, and a sector that annually employs 300,000 people directly and indirectly. Esmúsica deduces that the sector will not begin to recover until the second half of next year, when activity normalizes and the industry is healthy. They say it will not be until 2023 when live music will be in a prosperous situation again. And they explain that those promoters who carry out their activity at the national and local levels “will need urgent help to be able to maintain their jobs in the coming years”.
Government measures to mitigate economic damage.
Against this background, the heads of different associations are asking the government for help to keep their business afloat, such as lowering the VAT on events to 4% or even 0% so that the sector can recover more quickly. For his part, yesterday (March 17), the Prime Minister presented a package of measures to fight this situation. Announcing a budget of € 200 billion (20% of GDP) to support vulnerable families, to research a coronavirus vaccine and to support companies, workers and the self-employed. Thus, those companies that present a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE) to alleviate their economic situation, will be exempt from Social Security quotas in order to avoid layoffs. For their part, the people affected by the ERTE may benefit from an unemployment benefit that will not be deducted from the corresponding months in the event of being unemployed in the future. And companies will have to promote teleworking whenever possible, for which a program to support the digitization of SMEs has been approved. With regard to companies and the self-employed, a line of guarantees worth 100,000 million euros has been created to provide liquidity to the businesses. The self-employed who have to suspend their activity or have seen their turnover fall by 75% compared to the previous semester, will also have access to the cessation of activity benefit, with which they will receive 70% of their contribution base. Likewise, they will be exempt from the payment of the corresponding fees. In this vein, today (March 18), Pedro Sánchez has announced that, once this crisis is over, “some budgets for social and economic reconstruction” will be presented with the objective, according to his own words, that “nobody be left behind. ”