France - Culture

French culture minister confident of 'responsible' mid-May reopening

"Take away shows only", reads a sign above the doors of a Paris theatre, closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
"Take away shows only", reads a sign above the doors of a Paris theatre, closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic. AFP/File

France’s Culture Minister has said she was confident ahead of the reopening of cultural venues mid-May, if the Covid situation allows it, emphasising that resumption of activity in the sector would be undertaken "responsibly". 


Speaking on BFMTV, Roselyne Bachelot declared "If the epidemic situation allows it in mid-May, we are in a position to reopen venues.”

When asked if that would include museums, theatres, cinemas at the same time, Bachelot replied: "We will assess the situation in the most detailed and appropriate way."

She stressed, however, that while she wished cultural venues to reopen as quickly as possible, she would proceed "responsibly" while respecting the evolution of the health situation in the country, saying there was more than just culture at stake.

'Covid Passport'

Bachelot said France's minister in charge of digital technology was preparing a “health passport” for venues and events that will be implemented incrementally, as the reopening of events progresses.

The health passport concept would depend on uptake within the population in order to be assessed, and has raised questions over ethical concerns.

“I admit that I have a lot of trouble with the ethics of a Covid passport,” Bachelot explained, “but if it creates the right condition for making cultural venues operational, I believe that I could compromise."

Costly free concerts

When asked about so-called “test concerts”, Bachelot underlined that to date, the projects have been complicated to organise and extremely expensive.

She gave the example of a test concert planned for the French group Indochine. Although the venue did not require payment and the band had volunteered to play for free, the invoice amounted to 900,000 euros.

Regarding summer festivals, such as the Avignon theatre festival and “Printemps de Bourges” music event, Bachelot said "In view of the current situation, yes, they will take place. We are working towards them taking place."

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