Time for cultural venues to be given a roadmap to re-opening says city's culture lead

Today's announcement that Manchester is to remain in Tier 3 has prompted a renewed call from the council's culture lead for more support for the culture sector and for a clear roadmap for venues on when they can safely re-open.

As things stand, cultural venues including theatres, museums, and galleries are not currently able to open in the city.  Venues such as gyms, leisure centres, hairdressers, and beauty salons however, are all allowed to open, as are all non-essential shops.

City leaders say they are at a loss to understand why cultural venues that have done so much and invested so heavily in making their venues and activities as Covid-secure as they can be, continue to be singled out as a sector and not allowed to safely re-open.

It's not just the continued closure of the culture sector alone however that is of great concern.  There's also a recognition of the close connection and interdependency that exists between it and the wider hospitality sector - meaning that the individual closure of either one of the two sectors has a massive knock-on impact on the other. 

Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Skills, Manchester City Council, said: "We completely understand that in a pandemic people's health has to come first, and it's vital of course that we all follow the rules to help stop the spread of the virus.

"At the same time however, there is no rhyme or reason for a rule that says galleries and theatres can't safely open when all shops and a host of other customer service outlets can.

"This position is simply not tenable, and it's important too that we don't forget the interdependency that exists between them and the wider hospitality sector - which is also on its knees right now.

"Both they and our cultural organisations are in dire need of more support and must now be given a clear roadmap setting out when they can re-open.

"Far too many jobs and livelihoods have already been lost, and without this, very many more are at stake.

"Action on this is urgently needed, and it's needed now."

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