The closure of part of the cultural sector by Codeco makes people cringe. And indeed, the GEMS experts did not, at first, evoke such a radical decision …

Cold shower for cinemas. After Christmas, they will indeed have to close their doors. There is no shortage of adjectives to describe the state of mind of the sector. “We are astonished, enraged, annoyed”, summarizes Thierry Laermans, secretary general of the Federation of Cinemas of Belgium (FCB). “Despite the many studies which show that a visit to the cinema is less dangerous than one in the Horeca, one is again victimized. According to our information, GEMS was not advocating it! One of the experts confirms, “This is ridiculous. Scandal ! On Wednesday evening, the GEMS report was finally released to the public.

The decision of the Concertation Committee to close theaters and cinemas from Sunday goes further than the recommendations of the experts, already underlined this Wednesday evening the virologist Steven Van Gucht following the press conference of Alexander De Croo. “This was only a plan B for us,” said the interfederal spokesperson for coronavirus, who is also a member of GEMS.

According to him, experts believe, for example, that a cinema session was still safe, provided that safety measures such as ventilation or wearing a mask were respected. The experts would have preferred measures concerning meetings in the private sphere.

According to the virologist, the experts had put on the table a plan A and a plan B, of which Codeco took and rejected some advice. “These are political choices, it’s up to them to decide,” he commented. Another expert we contacted spoke of a “scandal” citing a “ridiculous” decision to close cinemas and theaters.

Comments confirmed by Marc Van Ranst, who also believes that this is too strict a measure given the current health situation: “However, confidence in this sector is very high. It’s not about the hundreds of thousands of visitors who go to performances every night. When we see that the Christmas markets remain open, we can say to ourselves that mulled wine has won over culture, ”said the virologist.

It can be said that the atmosphere is tense between experts, Codeco members and other politicians. To our colleagues at LN24, a member of Codeco expressed his disappointment at having had to close part of the cultural sector: “The figures are good but we are taking preventive measures because we are so afraid. Frank Vandenbroucke won. We are going to cause panic and scare people ”.

For Maxime Prévot, the president of the cdH, “culture has been sacrificed, abandoned by our current leaders”.