Covid-19: More than 5 Culture workers asked for social support

From April 19th, theaters, auditoriums and concert halls reopen

Pablo Sabater|Archive Photo

More than five thousand independent workers have requested extraordinary support for artists, authors, technicians and other cultural professionals, in the amount of 438,81 euros, which starts to be paid next week, announced this Saturday the Ministry of Culture.

“So far, 5.151 requests for extraordinary support have been requested from artists, authors, technicians and other cultural professionals, in the form of a subsidy, in the amount of a Social Support Index, in other words, 438,81 euros. This support, exclusive to the culture sector and cumulative with other Social Security support, will be granted during the months of March, April and May”, says the tutelage, in a statement.

The form for requesting this support, aimed at self-employed workers who have an economic activity code (CAE) or IRS (CIRS) in the sector, was made available online between February 18th and March 18th.

According to the Ministry of Culture, payments for the first month of extraordinary support to artists, authors, technicians and other professionals of Culture “will be made as early as next week”.

“At the beginning of April and May, the new registration periods for this same support will begin, available even for those who have not requested it in March”, adds the tutelage.

The ministry also states that "today applications started in this first phase have been automatically notified and that they were refused, after automatic verification by the Tax Authority and Social Security, for not meeting the defined criteria".

However, "those who consider that there is an error in verifying requirements - namely CIRS and CAE for culture - can complain about the decision, through the Culture Portal".

The extraordinary support for artists, authors, technicians and other cultural professionals, initially communicated as the only one and meanwhile extended to three months, is one of those announced by the Government on January 14, as part of the measures to respond to the crisis caused by the restrictions decreed under the Covid-19 pandemic.

Representative structures of Culture workers regretted, on several occasions, the delay in implementing these supports.

In addition, they warned that, as in 2020, several people would be left out of this extraordinary social support, namely because there are Arts and Culture workers enrolled with CAE (economic activity code) or CIRS (IRS code) who are not directly covered in cultural activities.

In June of last year, the Government announced three lines of support for the sector, under the Economic and Social Stabilization Program (PEES), which only opened in August, one of which was social support for workers in the sector(34,3 millions).

According to the Minister of Culture, Graça Fonseca, the social support of 34,3 million euros would be available for a universe of 18.000 beneficiaries, but representatives of the sector warned that not everyone would receive it.

In November, while discussing the proposed State Budget for 2021, Graça Fonseca revealed that around 9.000 professionals had so far received 12 million euros in Social Security support, including social support with a maximum ceiling of 34,3 million euros .

Despite successive requests for information made by the Lusa agency over the course of months, the Ministry of Culture did not reveal how many workers were covered by social support, nor how many actually received benefits.

Cultural activity stopped again in mainland Portugal on January 15 of this year, when a new generalized confinement was decreed.

Two months later, on March 15th, they began to be taken up again, in stages, when they were able to reopen bookstores, record stores, libraries and archives.

As far as the Culture sector is concerned, on April 5th, museums, monuments, palaces, art galleries and similar may reopen.

On April 19, in addition to the reopening of theatres, auditoriums, theaters and cinema, events abroad may also be resumed, subject to approval by the General Directorate of Health. outdoor and indoor events, with reduced capacity, which may include festivals.