ATHENS – Artists, musicians and others in Greece’s culture sector not allowed to work during a gradual easing of a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus will get help from the government.
Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said the measures will be part of the relief program that has been given to workers laid off while their companies were closed and businesses not allowed to operate until the lockdown is fully lifted.
There were no details on what the benefits would be as the artists have complained they were being shut out as concerts and other events have been cancelled and they won’t be able to work at all unless that changes.
The government has paid an 800-euro ($863.42) compensation to employees with active contracts or people belonging to particular categories of employees before the lockdown, and presented programs for unemployed artists.
The cultural support program is due to be outlined on May 7 by government spokesman Stelios Petsas and comes after the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that was unseated by New Democracy in July 7, 2019 elections said the artists weren’t being helped.
Four unions of artists and employees in the sector called on visual artists, writers, dancers, choreographers and technicians, to participate in a protest rally in Syntagma Square across from the Parliament to show their concerns.
“The pandemic hit the arts and culture long before the necessary restrictive measures were put in place by the government. From the very beginning, artists and employees in the sector contributed with our art and all our strength in boosting society’s morale. We stayed at home, but we did not stay silent,” the Panhellenic Music Association, the Association of Greek Actors, the Association of Workers in Culture Events and the Panhellenic Association of Greek Singers said in a statement.