Culture councils request explanations from Public Health

Liza Frulla, president of the board of directors of Culture Montréal, as well as her counterparts from Québec – Chaudière-Appalaches, Montérégie, Laval, Lanaudière and the Laurentians, sent a letter to Dr Horacio Arruda, director of public health of Quebec, to ask him for explanations on the reconfinement of the cultural environment announced Monday.

In this open letter published on our digital platforms, the four presidents question the relevance of the new containment measures, while the community has worked hard in recent months to comply with health directives.

“The reduction in gauges, the physical distance imposed between the places, the protective walls installed, the wearing of the obligatory mask, the instructions given before the performances to express their joy by applauding or stamping their feet are all measures to which the milieus cultures have conformed and which abolish prolonged contact. In museums, theaters, concert halls, cinemas and libraries, there is therefore no more socialization, ”write the authors of the letter.

“If there has been no outbreak since the venues reopened, it is not by chance or by accident. It was because the risk of an outbreak was infinitesimal “, they still argue.

In an interview, Liza Frulla wonders whether the Quebec public health department is aware of the efforts made in the community to adapt to the pandemic.

“We do not understand why the cultural sector is targeted when large businesses like Walmart and Costco remain open, and arenas are open. The Remparts de Québec, they can play, them, ”she said.

“We say to Public Health, we understand you, we understand the government, but we do not understand why the cultural sector is being targeted. “

According to her, the reasons given to justify the confinement of the cultural environment do not take into account the changes made in the theater or museum environments.

“We reinvented ourselves. The government asked us to reinvent ourselves, ”she says. In museums as well as in theaters and cinemas, you should reserve your place as soon as possible to avoid crowds.

The group is speaking to Public Health rather than the government, because that is “where” decisions come from.

“The government would be very ill advised to say: Public Health advises us such and such a measure and we have decided not to observe them,” she admits.

“Deeply rooted in society, cultural circles have shown, since the start of the pandemic last March, both immense solidarity and great resilience,” write the authors of the letter.

However, the reconfinement imposed by Quebec since Monday on the cultural community is precisely what they have tried in every way to avoid.

“The cultural managers responsible for these establishments have complied with all of the public health directives, even the most cutting-edge ones, to allow our creators, our artists, our artisans to gradually regain contact with their audiences and precisely to avoid , to be victims of a new closure of which nothing can assure us that it will last only a month, ”they worry.

In addition to Liza Frulla, the letter sent to Minister Arruda is signed by Marc Goudreau, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Conseil de la culture des Régions de Québec and Chaudière-Appalaches, Sylvain Massé, Chairman of the Board of Culture Montérégie, and Sylvie Lessard, President of the Board of Culture Laval.

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