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Culture sector to receive more Covid funds

Theatres, cinemas, concert halls and many other culture venues were hit hard by restrictions as they were ordered to close temporarily because of the pandemic. Keystone/Gian Ehrenzeller

The Swiss government has agreed to extend financial aid to people working in the culture sector.

This content was published on March 31, 2021 - 16:51
swissinfo.ch/urs

Applicants, including self-employed artists with frequently changing and limited work contracts, will be able to receive funds for loss of earnings from March 2020.

“The Covid restrictions have hit the culture sector with full force from the start,” Interior Minister Alain Berset told a news conference on Wednesday.

As part of the new rules to come into force on Thursday, conditions for receiving emergency aid have also been eased.

There are about 63,000 companies and around 300,000 people in the Swiss culture sector.

So far, the Swiss governmentExternal link has spent CHF410 million ($436 million) to pay for loss of earnings for the culture sector that was hit by restrictions imposed over the Covid pandemic. The cantonal authorities also supported the culture sector financially.

No more salary caps

Meanwhile, it will become easier for professional sports clubs to have access to be receive emergency funds from the state. The government said it agreed to waive a precondition that notably football and ice-hockey clubs have to cap salaries for their top players to be eligible for non-repayable financial assistance.

The government also decided to earmark an additional CHF2.6 billion to pay towards the costs of the vaccination campaign.

The funds still have to be approved by parliament.

In another development, members of the civil protection services can be called to support staff in hospitals, old people’s homes and Covid testing centres. The government extended the mandate until the end of June.

Over the past few months, up to 1,500 members of the service were on duty every week, according to the defence ministry.

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