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Coronavirus: Events sector appeals for state aid

The events sector is calling for state financial assistance as 95 per cent of scheduled events for the first three months of this year have been cancelled.

Following the surge of coronavirus cases in recent days, coupled with the new coronavirus restrictions, the events industry “has closed down” despite being open in theory, head of professional events’ association Constantinos Mosaikos told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday.

“It did not help at all that the government made efforts to keep the sector open,” Mosaikos explained.

The vast majority of weddings, christenings and company events have been cancelled for January through to late March, with Mosaikos citing the prohibition of dancing as the main reason.

“No one would want to proceed with a celebration if there is no dancing,” he said.

A negative 24 hour rapid or PCR test is also mandatory for people attending events.

Another reason is the high number of Covid infections which means “every family has a positive case”, the head of the association added.

The sector employees more than 10,000 people, including professionals from various sub-sectors such as venue owners, florists, photographers, DJs, make-up artists, hairstylists and sound and light professionals among others, and generates about €500m in revenue per year, according to Mosaikos.

However, companies within the industry are unable to keep employing the same number of staff for the next three months until business picks up again. “After Easter is the high season and we are full with events when employees will be needed,” Mosaikos said.

The association is asking for the “immediate financial support of the sector and its employees” to be able to survive the next few months, similar to the support schemes in force during lockdowns.

Under those schemes, a large portion of employees’ salaries was paid through the unemployment scheme for businesses that suffered a significant decline in turnover, provided there were no dismissals.

The association has already written to the finance and labour ministries regarding the financial assistance and was set to meet with party leaders on Tuesday.

Additional restrictions are expected to be announced by Cabinet on Wednesday following meetings on Tuesday with government officials and the epidemiological team.

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