Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) recommended on March 25 that all outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people and indoor events involving more than 100 participants should be cancelled. In response, the Ministry of Culture has ramped up efforts to avert prolonged close contact between people and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Listed below is the latest coronavirus preventive guide for all group activities taking place at facilities leased from the Ministry's affiliated agencies and venues:
Starting from March 25, Ministry-affiliated venues, orchestras, and troupes will suspend all upcoming indoor performances that they have jurisdiction over as executive organizers. The Ministry now strongly recommends all organizers in Taiwan to cancel or postpone indoor events that consist of more than 100 people.
For those leasing facilities from the Ministry and decide to postpone or cancel, organizers of events involving less than 100 persons will be fully refunded for the rental fees. In the event of unusual difficulties, a proactive effort will also be made to provide assistance in rescheduling and refunding attendees.
Meanwhile, the Ministry will help coordinate resources and ensure that performance venues and art spaces will be made available for rehearsals and training, on the basis that thorough epidemic prevention measures are taken.
If organizers decide to proceed with indoor events of less than 100 persons or outdoor performances with less than 500 participants, they are required to conduct a risk assessment in advance, based on the six risk assessment indicators laid out in the CECC guidelines.
Events identified as carrying high public health risk should be postponed, cancelled, or amended to proceed in other forms. Organizers who decide to proceed shall formulate their respective epidemic prevention plans, prepare for possible impact of latest COVID-19 developments, and implement measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The method of calculating the total number of attendees present within Ministry-affiliated exhibition halls should be immediately reassessed. Henceforth, the number of exhibition participants shall not exceed 100 at any given time, and they will be required to maintain a distance of at least one meter apart from one another.
The Ministry has also unveiled a NT$1.5-billion package for helping the cultural and arts sectors weather the impact of COVID-19. All Taiwanese businesses, groups, and individuals working in the arts who have experienced virus-linked operational difficulties from Jan. 15 through the end of March are encouraged to apply for assistance.
The Ministry will also work with its partners and affiliated institutions, including the National Performing Arts Center and the National Center for Traditional Arts, to map out how to use this year's existing budgets to keep the performing arts community afloat through the creation of new works and the cultivation of new talents.
In addition, the Ministry has also initiated inter-ministerial coordination to secure the eligibility of the cultural and arts sectors for the stimulus packages being unrolled out by other major government bodies. For example, a proposal for the inclusion of large-scale cultural enterprises in a special relief loan program supported by the SME Credit Guarantee Fund of Taiwan (信保基金) is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA).
While funds are being reallocated for emergency relief through the deferral of the Ministry's other projects, a second rescue package for the arts is being drafted to seek further financial backing from the Executive Yuan, the executive branch of the central government.
Read the original press release here.