Coronavirus | Rescuing Culture

A total government support package of €38 billion will help businesses ride out the Coronavirus crisis. How much will go to cultural organizations and artists is still a matter of tricky negotiations.

State Secretary for Art and Culture Ulrike Lunacek (Greens)

By Simon Ballam, Dardis McNamee and Margarita Randl

In a widely anticipated move March 13th, the State Secretary for Art and Culture Ulrike Lunacek (Greens) presented a series of measures to support artists, managers and companies in the cultural sector to insulate them from the economic impact of the Coronavirus.

“It is clear that the health crisis will have a massive impact on art and culture” Lunacek said.  Culture is of course central to Austrian life, as well as a major driver for the Austrian tourist industry, nearly 9% of the country’s GDP.

General support package

A general support package had already announced March 4 to ease liquidity bottlenecks arising from sales shortfalls. The AWS (Austrian Wirtschaftsservice, a government owned development bank) will guarantee bridge loans based on income losses over the previous year. One key measure will allow companies to delay social security contributions and payroll taxes, while larger organizations may be able to negotiate individual bailout packages. There will a special Härtefonds, a dedicated package of €1 billion to shore up small companies, non-profits and the self employed. This should be particularly helpful for the arts and culture sector, but exactly how much money will be available is still unclear. “This a mosaic of measures for many businesses,” Lunacek spokeswoman Heike Warmuth told Metropole. The arts businesses must hope that Lunacek is a skilled and tough negotiator.

Artists employed by cultural institutions fall under the protection of regulations on reduced working hours (Kurzarbeit) adjusted to current needs – now modified to allow employers to reduce hours to zero. The lower wages will be augmented by subsidies through the Employment Service (AMS) on a sliding scale according to income – 80% for those earning more than € 2.685 gross, up to 90% on wages below €1.700. Artists and employers will able to apply online, with the notification period will be reduced from six weeks to 48 hours.

Online pop-up performances

For the self-employed, the existing Künstler–Sozialversicherungsfond (Cultural Social Security Fund) already provides grants to artists whose primary residence is in Austria who face interruptions in earnings. However, this fund is not enough to cover income lost through federally mandated closures and other cancellations, but in an interview with Der Standard 20.3.20, Lunacek announced that the fund will increased tenfold, from €500,000 to €5 million. 

Some of the artists are themselves looking for ways to keep Vienna’s cultural scene alive. Musicians have organized online for pop-up performances, opening their apartment windows every day at 6:00 p.m. to play for their neighbors. Several museums have introduced free online tours.

Vienna would not be the City of Mozart and Beethoven without its own special program to protect musical copyright, often the financial life blood for musicians, composers and music publishers alike. The copyright watchdog AKM/austro mechana has set up a special €1 million catastrophe fund to cover the likely loss in royalties. 

“When the music dies, we really know what we up against”, said music industry heavyweight Peter Paul Skrepek.

Nimm's Leben net so tragisch, hast an S-Fehler lern Spanisch!

A gmiatliche Quarantäne euch allen und bleima entspannt ❤

Gepostet von Paul Pizzera am Dienstag, 17. März 2020
Austrian musician Paul Pizzera: “If you’re in quarantine at home, do what I do and drink at 10:00.”

Metropole
Stories are what make a city great. METROPOLE tells Vienna’s in English. Whether it’s insights about personalities, businesses or ideas, METROPOLE curates them for an international public. Looking to enrich your experience here? METROPOLE recommends events and locations to help make your Vienna story worth the telling.

 

You like local independent journalism in English? So do we!

To keep providing you with current news, insights, opinion and Schmäh about our shared hometown, we need your help.
We chose to provide our daily coverage for free, because we believe in equal access to information. And we want to be independent from our advertisers, so we can deliver the news that you want. With your help, we can keep giving you the open, independent journalism you deserve.

Don’t let the advertisers win!

Metropolitans
 
Advertisers

If you’re able, please support Metropole today from as little as €1
or choose an amount:

RECENT Articles

Sissi Facts, Part 2 | 5 More Things You Didn’t Know About Empress Elisabeth of A...

Sissi Facts, Part 2: 5 more things you didn’t know about Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

Why Face Masks Matter – And How to Wear Them

As of April 1, we are supposed to wear face masks when grocery shopping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Covering your nose and mouth with a mask will not protect you from viral infection, but if you are infected and asymptomatic, you may unwittingly infect others.

The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | Antibody Tests & Face Masks

The coronavirus has arrived in Austria. Here’s all you need to know about current measures, including available resources, trusted sources and tips – regularly updated.

Vienna’s Artists Bring the Best of Culture to Your Couch

Cultural life on Austria is on standby – but not quite. Many institutions are trying to keep the spirit alive online. We’ve compiled the best of Vienna’s cultural offerings you can enjoy from your couch.

A New Age of Hubris Paved the Way to the Pandemic, says Yale Historian Frank Sno...

Yale professor of medical history Frank Snowden’s sweeping analysis of pandemics over the centuries, concludes that while science advances, people do not. An unsettling but gripping read.

Coronavirus | Everything You Need to Know About Food Delivery in Vienna

Some restaurants have switched to take-out, while large delivery chains have found new ways to safely bring your lunch or dinner.

Spring 2020 Trend Watch|Coronavirus Edition

A new season is upon us and with it comes a wave of seasonal must-haves, but this year we’re trading in shoes and purses for non-perishables and medical grade accessories.

The Law in the Time of Corona

The SARS-CoV-2 virus poses a major challenge both to companies and individuals. A Vienna-based lawyer and data protection experts gives insights into ramifications in law.
close-link