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Coronavirus: €130 million for the film and theatre industry in Italy


- Extraordinary levels of compensation, suspension of tax payments, and refunds in the form of vouchers for cancelled performances are all in the offing

Coronavirus: €130 million for the film and theatre industry in Italy
Italian Minister for Cultural Heritage Dario Franceschini

The Italian Council of Ministers has approved a decree law aimed at lending support to workers and businesses operating within Italy’s tourism and cultural industries, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The adopted measures include an emergency fund for live performances, films and audiovisual works to the total tune of €130 million.

The COVID-19 pandemic is destabilising the film industry in all corners of the globe. In Italy, the European country worse affected by coronavirus to date, the schedule governing the cinema-release of new films was modified within the first few days of the crisis, after which authorities decided to close all cinemas up and down the country. The most recent Italian box office data, which takes us up to 8 March, gives a perfect snapshot of how serious the situation actually is. During the last weekend of film programming, cinemas lost over 95% of their audiences as compared to the equivalent period in 2019 (source: Cinetel).

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These measures – as emphasised by the Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism Dario Franceschini – take into account the many requests voiced by the trade associations active within these sectors, with whom we have been in close talks over the past few weeks”. By way of this decree, workers in the tourism, culture, entertainment, film and audiovisual sectors will enjoy access to extraordinary levels of compensation aimed at containing the negative impact of emergency restrictions imposed by the government. This compensation is also extended to workers without any other form of social safety net.

The Italian authorities also plan to suspend tax payments, social security contributions and obligatory insurance premiums for cinema operators, until 30 April 2020. Refunds in the form of vouchers will be issued for performances cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19, valid for one year following their date of issue.

In terms of the emergency fund for live performances, films and audiovisual works, €130 million has been set aside in 2020 for the support of operators, authors, artists, actors and performers affected by the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19, and for investments aimed at reviving these sectors. The manner in which these resources will be allocated and distributed will be confirmed via decrees from the Minister for Culture.

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(Translated from Italian)

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