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Spanish venues endure “broadest restrictions in Europe”

Despite having the third-highest vaccination rate in Europe, Spain's live music sector is still largely closed due to restrictions

By IQ on 22 Sep 2021

WiZink Center Madrid during the Alerta Roja protest in 2020

WiZink Center Madrid during the Alerta Roja protest in 2020


Spanish concert halls are suffering under the broadest restrictions in Europe, according to a recent study by Live DMA.

While many European markets have fully reopened – or are planning to – Spanish venues are either still shuttered or are operating with a number of restrictions that make it “economically unfeasible’ for them to open their doors.

The country’s live sector is still reckoning with restrictions that include social distancing, mask-wearing and capacity limits, despite having the third-highest (73%) vaccination rate in Europe.

Spain’s association of live music venues, ACCES, is now demanding the full reopening of the live music sector, in line with the European Union guidelines for the safe resumption of cultural activities.

The EU guidelines say that member states must continue to adopt a strategic and phased approach to reopening, increasing capacity limits if the vaccination rate progresses sufficiently.

“[Spain has] the same social distance and practically the same limitations and capacity reductions as before the vaccination campaign”

Many European countries such as England, Denmark and Norway have already removed restrictions on live events, while others such as Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Lithuania plan to do so at the end of this month – all of which have a lower vaccination rate than that of Spain.

“We do not understand why Spain, being at the head of the population vaccination rates, also continues to lead the countries with the greatest restrictions on cultural spaces such as concert halls,” writes ACCES. “Requiring the same social distance and practically the same limitations and capacity reductions as before the vaccination campaign began.

“These limitations, given our high vaccination rate, must be lifted or at least mitigated so that we are allowed to carry out our activity normally again, that is: Without social distance, with full capacity and with the possibility of consumption in the bars, because if not now, then when?”

Last year, Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (APM) reported that around 25,000 concerts were cancelled last year in Spain, causing a total loss of €120 million for concert halls, which prompted numerous protests and demonstrations including The Last Concert and #alertaroja.

 


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