Following the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Costa Rica, the Government of the Republic and the Ministry of Health, as rector of the health emergency, have taken measures to protect the health of all people. These measures, and the world health situation, have important effects on social and productive life, and have impacted cultural activity immediately and radically.
In Costa Rica, through Decree 42221-S, of March 10, 2020 “Temporary Administrative Measures for the Attention of Activities of Mass Concentration due to the Health Alert by COVID-19”, guidelines were established such as the suspension of activities of massive concentration in open and closed spaces, and the reduction of the capacity of the premises that remain open to 50%, a measure applicable to museums, cinemas and theaters. These are initial measures that are updated daily as the situation evolves.
Aware of the effects of these provisions for the culture sector, from the first phase of the health alert, the Ministry of Culture and Youth (MCJ), carried out different actions to attend to the administrative measures corresponding to its own events and to add to the amortization of the virus propagation conditions. Likewise, to promote the consideration of the singularities of the sector before different instances: the authorities of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MTSS), the National Institute of Learning (INA) and the Mixed Institute of Social Aid (IMAS).
“From the MCJ we are aware of the concerns of the sector and our users. That is why we manage everything that is within our reach in this exceptional situation together with all levels of government, ”said Sylvie Durán Salvatierra, Minister of Culture and Youth.
These actions have been addressed through the Office of the MCJ, the Vice-Ministries of Culture and Administration, the directors of institutions attached to the MCJ and the support staff, have dealt with the emergency in various lines of work, namely:
Events and spaces
In addition to the immediate provisions in the institutional spaces of greater capacity such as the National Theater of Costa Rica and the Popular Melico Salazaro Theater, the suspension of special activities such as the International Film Festival (CRFIC) and the National Festival of the Arts; As a result of the consultations and work sessions with these entities, the Working Group on Massive Concentrations was created at the Productive Infrastructure Table of the Emergency Operations Center (COE), led by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC) . The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), the Ministry of Sport, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Culture and Youth (MCJ) that attended that space from the Office along with the most directly involved cultural institutions participate.
In the institutional spaces in which it is requested to reduce the capacity to 50%, understood museums and theaters, sanitary provisions have been taken to continue providing services under the conditions that are being established. The institutions remain alert to the updating of the measures and that affect both public and private social agents that carry out events.
Likewise, the MCJ joined the COE Board of Education, through the links: Dennis Portuguez, MCJ Administrative Deputy Minister and Ramiro Ramírez, director of the National System of Musical Education (SINEM).
Artistic activity and independent sector
In relation to the independent sector, in addition to the evaluations that have already been submitted to the corresponding government bodies, a virtual form was prepared for the entire cultural sector, in order to approximate quantitative information on the needs, effects and potential of the sector. cultural and artistic before the health situation linked to COVID-19, peremptorily.
The objective is to quickly collect reference information in the identification of action strategies for the mitigation of the effects and for the development of collaboration schemes that are analyzed at the different tables to attend to the different sectors in the exceptional situation that the country.
“The Ministry has been doing a job consistent with macro measurements such as the Cultural Satellite Account, national surveys of us and other institutions, or the institutional administrative records system. There is no regular registration tool for the productive activity of our subsectors in the independent field. For this reason, we created a consultation tool to help us in this situation and we ask different authorities to accompany us very actively in the information survey and construction of alternatives, “said the Minister of Culture and Youth.
Parallel to this process, the MCJ will be convened in the Working Groups of the corresponding Social Protection Table, through the Deputy Minister of Culture, Alejandra Hernández and the Deputy Minister of Youth, Margareth Solano, as ministerial liaisons. It also monitors the initiatives of the Economic Council.
Collaborative and co-responsible process with civil society and academia
Among the civil society bodies summoned to this process are: Association of Musical Composers and Authors of Costa Rica, Association of Independent Professional Theater Groups, Association of Musical Performers and Executors of Costa Rica, Performing Arts Costa Rica, Theater Circuit, Consortium Audiovisual, Digital Animation Consortium, Fundakur, Independent Groups of Music Bands, Platform of the Culture Sector, Inter Municipal Culture Network Costa Rica (RECIM), and the Union of Music Workers.
From the academic sector, the instances of the School of Culture and Sports and the Amón Cultural House of the Technological Institute of Costa Rica were invited; the School of Dramatic Arts and the Faculty of Arts of the University of Costa Rica; and to the School of Music and the School of Scenic Art of the National University.
Different instances of civil society raised formal notes, or concerns, about the situation; one of them joining communications and international homologous groups. Faced with the call of the MCJ to its leaders, they have shown a high commitment and a great willingness to participate in the responsible construction of response initiatives. In this exercise, the MCJ will follow the protocols regarding the confidentiality of the data that are already customary as members of the National Statistical System. The institution confirmed that it will work diligently to have the results of the consultation as soon as possible, to communicate to the sector the mechanisms that are defined with the authorities involved, and to generate spaces for joint work.
Workers in the sector can access the form mentioned through this link https://forms.gle/daZ5zBNrCLFi6nWm7, the form will be enabled until Saturday, March 21 at 7:00 pm, if there are queries, the same They will be answered by email: [email protected] and by phone: 2255-3188 ext. 404.