Last Updated on Thursday, 4 February, 2021 at 2:41 pm by Andre Camilleri
Mark Grech is Public Relations officer at MEIA
The ugly truth is that this virus is here to stay; not only is it very difficult to achieve herd immunity within months, but it is also a fact that we are discovering new strains of the virus each and every week. Not only it is still a grey area that the vaccines work with these new strains but it is also a fact that we are fighting the unknown, again.
During this saga, the entertainment industry was among the first industries to get hit and it is highly likely that it will be the last one to recover, only if we want to. Arts and entertainment have always served as a means of relaxation, winding down and even more the very essence of culture. What distinguishes us from one nation to another and at such times is pleading to innovate itself accordingly. The industry and the people in it cannot afford another year of no shows and cancelled events. Malta cannot afford to lose the mileage gained throughout these past years particularly in the festivals scene even so in view of the fact that other countries are getting more creative than us and managing to turn a difficulty into strength. Just this week, Albania has become the first country in the world to approve testing for their events. This means that a rapid testing service will be provided at the entrance and attendees will be granted entry upon being given the green light by the professionals doing these tests. This will guarantee that such a festival is Covid-safe and free.
Malta must and has to follow this example, we need to set the ball rolling as soon as possible and we must adapt to the circumstances and turn a difficulty into a strength. While it is true that the government grants were a blessing and they helped the industry to stay afloat, however, these were no magic wand but a temporary fix. The only way to have a healthy and happy industry is to return back on stage and let artists, performers, DJs and actors do what they know best – entertain and give us all a good time that we all deserve during these rough times.
This period is crucial as every other country is gearing up for the challenge. Malta must not lose this golden opportunity to re-position itself as a leader in the entertainment industry. One late comeback and a lifetime of consequences! All the hard work that we have done throughout the years to change the game can be lost.
There is only one solution to all of this – adapt to the circumstances by working hand in hand with the restrictions in place and incentivise the local entertainment industry holistically for everyone to get back on their feet and allow it to instil a sense of optimism among us all. This obviously brings about our own obligations as organisers to ensure everyone’s safety, locations’ certification to provide optimum events everyone will enjoy safely.
In parallel, a rapid testing structure will be set and will be mandatory to have at any event with a no test, no entry policy. We are at a crucial stage and we can set the tone of where we want to go. Complementing the latest strategies launched by government, the entertainment industry can play a crucial role in spring-boarding the great achievements Malta brought about, its resilience and most of all putting itself on the map in a thriving industry that if not taken care of, all will be lost. Apart from the vaccine, we only have one shot – let’s use it wisely.