Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Entertainers not amused by Covid-19 protocols

Different entertainment promoters have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Covid-19 protocols put in place for entertainment events.

What irks them particularly is the capacity of people allowed at host venues. The government gazette, which has stated that entertainment facilities should host no more than 50 people excluding performers, has received scrutiny among entertainment gurus.

On September 16th, government released a gazette stating the Covid-19 protocols to be followed at entertainment events and among the protocols, the capacity of people allowed at entertainment events has raised more criticism.

David Letshwiti, the director of Colourful People Entertainment and the organizer of African Attire on Fleek Picnic, said that the government should have consulted the industry players before publishing the final gazette. He said that the novel Coronavirus has brought a lot of devastations and people have become too skeptical about attending events.

Letshwiti says by only allowing 50 people to attend, it will not profit the promoters and the artists themselves. He says that if all promoters were to withhold organizing events the rest of the year, the impact of their absence would be felt. “It is expensive putting together an event. Most outdoor venues do not have electricity, toilets and access to water hence more expenses encountered.

The reason our events can be big one year and collapse the other is because Batswana compare our events with those in South Africa and get disappointed,” he says. The promoter lamented that the situation is likely to worsen this time around looking at the current regulations.

Gilbert PP Seagile, the president of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA), which represents entertainment promoters, also aired out his frustrations concerning the regulations.

He says that as key players in the entertainment industry, the new regulations will not work nor favour them and should be reviewed. He says that they do not accept the government’s decision to allow only 50 people at an entertainment event because according to them, it does not make business sense.

Seagile also stressed that venues are not equal in size and capacity hence the need for protocols tailored to suit the uniqueness of each venue.

He says the mistake the government made was to release the final gazette without consulting them who are directly affected by these decisions. Expenses like paying security officers, the disc jockeys, bouncers, artists and rental are all incurred during event organizing and will be hard to cover given the number of people allowed to attend, he said.

Seagile says that most countries use the World Health Organization mass gatherings guidelines that is why they are able to open the entertainment industry in a profitable manner.

“As BEPA, we have drafted a proposal for the government so as to reconsider some of the protocols. The proposal suggests the capacity of people who should be allowed at events and is in accordance with the WHO guidelines,” Seagile said. The BEPA guidelines suggest that key considerations should be venue schematics, type of event, audience and psychographic profile and the readiness of the national health system.

The BEPA guidelines state that night clubs should allow no more than 150 people or 200 in venues where there are balconies allowing for overflow. Outdoor concerts like farms and stadiums should host no more than 2000 people who will be divided into barricades of 250 people.

Concert Halls, depending on their individual capacities should host no more than 500 people. The guidelines further say that colour ribons on attendants would help to identify from which barricade they are part of at an event for easy purposes of contact tracing. Promoters plead the government to at least have a 40% share of the expenses to be experienced by event organizers so as to keep them in business.


Read this week's paper