Government has approved the partial re-opening up of low-risk sectors of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) in line with Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Consolidation and Amendment) Order SI 200/2020.

In a statement, the Director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) Mr Nicholas Moyo said players in the identified low-risk sectors seeking to reopen under the relaxed measures will have to apply for permission from the NACZ and they will only be allowed to resume operations if council is satisfied that they are able to adhere strictly to set COVID19 transmission prevention protocols and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

“As the sector is celebrating the relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions which have seen the CCIs dormant for the past 6 months, NACZ would like to encourage players in the sector to take advantage of the relaxation of the lockdown conditions to go back to their creative spaces and engage in serious production for the sector to recover some of the opportunities lost due to the corona virus epidemic,” the Director said.

Mr Moyo said after successfully lobbying for the sector’s reopening, the NACZ implores industry players to put the health of practitioners and consumers of CCI products at the forefront of their operations to avoid the sector become a vector in the transmission of the deadly virus.

“In this regards the NACZ encourages artistes to establish and adhere to the set COVID-19 prevention protocols and Standard Operating Procedures at all times as they reopen their creative spaces”, he said.

In the statement, the NACZ also announced that only low-risk sectors including exhibitions in Galleries and Museums, Book launches, Film production, Training Centres cum Schools of Arts, Arts and Culture Centres, Visual Art Studios, Music Recording studios, Drive-In Cinema, Studio recording for online publication, Theatre Houses for Drama, Dance, Movies and Spoken Word had been cleared to resume their operations with immediate effect.

“The government also approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the players to adhere to so as to maintain the low-risk status of the opening sectors,” the Director said.

The SOPs cover issues to do with sanitization at the entrance at entry and exit points, Temperature Checks, Wearing of face masks and shield by patrons and staff, Registration of all attendees for particular events, Social distancing in set up and activities, Sanitization of physical objects/equipment within Arts spaces, Fumigation of premises before and after usage.

Other areas also covered in the SOPs include Audiences to conform to the 100 allowed for gatherings, Selling of tickets in advance to control numbers, Sale of alcohol at the venues, Staff regular health checks for the testing of COVID-19 and the immediate closure of an arts space in case of COVID-19 cases detection.

Mr Moyo said the NACZ was ceased with the task of ensuring and monitoring that the reopening of CCI spaces adhere to the set SOPs.

“I would also like to advise members of the general public and patrons of CCIs that COVID-19 is still in our midst. Let’s all play our part to prevent the resurgence of local transmission cases with the reopening of the sector. Reckless and wanton behaviour will not benefit the CCI sector as COVID-19 spreads easily in areas of irresponsibility,” Mr Moyo said.

The partial reopening of the arts sector comes as a huge relief to practitioners who have failed to practice and perform their art since the first total lock down was initiated by government in March