Eswatini Daily News
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National

COVID-19RESTRICTIONSUPDATE(Arts&Entertainment)

Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku announces the reopening of select Arts activities with effect from Monday, 22 March 2021.

On Thursday, Government announced a series of measures to relax COVID- 19 restrictions meant to give the economy an opportunity to breathe. These decisions came at the back of a two-month period in which the government implemented tough yet necessary restrictions in response to a second wave of COVID-19 that had shaken our Nation.

As emphasised on Thursday, Government remains fully committed to reopening the economy in a phased yet cautious manner. Key to this is the National Vaccination Programme which was launched yesterday. A proper implementation of this programme and the full participation of all Emaswati remains our quickest and safest way out of this dark hole that the pandemic has forced us to live in for well over a year now.

Parallel to the Vaccination Programme, Government will continue to Evaluate the situation on the ground & consider reopening other critical Sectors of the economy depending on the behavior of the virus. In that regard, over these past few days, Government has considered the plight of the Arts industry which has been one of the most affected sectors in the country.

Government is therefore pleased to announce a phased reopening of the Arts industry with effect from Monday 22March 2021, having received the necessary advice from health experts. This phased reopening will follow the laid down categorization of the industry which was first implemented in
late2020. Working together with various Arts Associations, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs has categorized Arts activities into low risk, middle risk and high risk.

Today we are announcing the reopening of all Arts activities under the low risk category namely; Theatre, Comedy, Poetry, Fashionshows, small-scale Choral Music, small scale music concerts, small scale launches, Movie houses, Museums & Art Galleries. However, these activities will be held subject to strict adherence to all COVID-19 health protocols under the following specific conditions:

  • Any art/entertainment activity should be hosted in a venue that has applied for and received an Entertainment Activity Hosting Compliance Certificate from the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Youth.
  • Affairs through the Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture (ENCAC). Host Artists and venues should collaborate to ensure that they appoint adequately trained Compliance Officers who will ensure that all participants are screened at entry; that the show duration is strictly Two and a half hours or less; that there are multiple sanitization and Or hand washing points at the venue; 1.5 metre social distancing is observed between people and that face masks are worn appropriately and at all times during the event.
  • Host artists and venues should ensure that there is strictly no selling of tickets at the venue and instead, only the presale of tickets is undertaken.
  • As much as possible, such gatherings should be held outdoors. If this Is not an option, then well ventilated in door venue scan be used.
  • A maximum of 100 people can attend any given art / entertainment Activity.

It is crucial to highlight that there shall be strictly no sale and consumption of alcohol in any of these events. The sale of alcohol in the country, as per the current regulations, is limited strictly for home consumption. Entertainment events hosts are urged to ensure that this condition is strictly adhered to.

Most importantly, the behavior of industry players and patrons will be Critical in what Government considers going forward. We therefore plead
With the Arts industry and all Emaswati to strictly adhere to these laid down conditions. We will not allow the situation witnessed at the opening of
Limited entertainment activities last year where some organizers blatantly Ignored these guide lines and conditions. Wewill not hesitate to close any
Misbehaving establishment and taking action against event organizers.

We all wish to go back to a time in which we can fully enjoy all the socio economic benefits of an unrestricted Arts industry in Eswatini. If we work together, we firmly believe we will achieve this very soon.

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