Starting today (October 5th, 2020) the Czech government has instated renewed precautions against the spread of the novel coronavirus. These new restrictions greatly inhibit live performing for the next two weeks. Any “concert, theater, or other performances which mostly consist of singing, including rehearsals” have been canceled entirely while other types of performances are limited to 500 spectators with assigned seats.
The Jednota hudebního divadla (Music Theater Cooperation) and the Asociace profesionálních divadel (Association of Professional Theaters) have both issued statements condemning these new measures and imploring the government to give scientific evidence supporting their decision to target singing in particular. They also criticize the fact that the new protocols do not make clear whether they are in place to protect performers or audiences and that the restrictions apply to performances which could take place relatively safely (chamber recitals, operas without choruses.)
Many theaters have scrambled to rearrange their schedules, most due to the governmental restrictions though the South Bohemian theater has also had to recently quarantine its chorus and orchestra due to cases of coronavirus. The National Theater, which has already recovered from a wave of coronavirus among its employees, has now had to cancel fourteen performances due to the two-week restriction. The Janáček Brno festival, which started on October 2nd, has had to postpone most of its season with great financial losses.
Many of the theaters presenting musicals and operas in the Czech Republic are state funded giving them a degree of protection, though they do still suffer financial losses when forced to cancel performances. Independently-organized festivals and events have suffered the most during the pandemic. The Covid kultura program, launched by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Culture, is designed to provide financial aid for non-state-funded live performance organizers and performers. It has received applications for some 126 million CZK (4 650 000 Euro.)
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