Repercussions of the coronavirus crisis on cultural enterprises: Government makes a further 5 million francs available until the end of 2021
In October, the Federal Government extended measures to alleviate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic for the Swiss cultural scene, until December 2021. The Canton of Basel-Stadt is now also continuing its commitment to the hard-hit cultural sector: It is making available a further 5 million francs from the crisis fund. In addition to loss of income compensation, cultural enterprises can now also apply for contributions to transformation projects. In spring 2020, 40 million francs in total were made available in the Canton of Basel-Stadt to support the cultural sector, and will continue to be available until the end of 2021.
On the basis of the Federal Government’s Covid-19 Act, the Government has decided that the Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of Presidential Affairs (of the Canton of Basel-Stadt) can continue to provide financial aid to cultural enterprises. The support is intended to cover some of the losses that cultural enterprises have suffered as a consequence of the pandemic, for example due to the cancellation of events ordered by the authorities. The funds awarded from the crisis fund in the first half of 2020 will continue to be available and will be increased to a total of 20 million francs. The Federal Government is doubling the Canton’s contribution with federal funds so that a total of 40 million francs are available in Basel-Stadt: In addition to loss of income compensation for events or projects that have been cancelled or postponed, contributions can now also be awarded to transformation projects.
Up until 20 September 2020, a total of 586 applications for loss of income compensation were submitted by cultural professionals and cultural enterprises. So far, 460 have been processed and decisions issued. Around 7,936 million francs of loss of income compensation were accepted, many of which concerned a first instalment. Processing of all existing applications will be complete by 31 December 2020. The available funds are not expected to be completely exhausted for the present applications and will be carried over to the next funding period.
In agreement with other cantons, the Government is also extending the scope in some areas: In future, music labels, as well as publication of literary works and educational events by art galleries, bookshops and libraries will also be entitled to make applications.
Loss of income compensation for cultural enterprises
As before, non-repayable financial aid in the form of loss of income compensation is planned. Cultural enterprises can therefore apply for loss of income compensation for the financial losses resulting from the cancellation, postponement or restrictions on holding events and projects or because of operational restrictions as a consequence of state measures. Commercial and non-commercial cultural enterprises headquartered in the Canton of Basel-Stadt are entitled to apply. Losses remaining following deduction of all other compensation, such as short-time working, can be compensated up to a maximum of 80 percent. A maximum amount of 0.5 million francs per applicant applies for commercial cultural enterprises. Losses are calculated on the basis of a calculation model that is used as standard across the whole of Switzerland.
Support contributions to transformation projects
Contributions can now also be awarded to transformation projects. These contributions support projects whereby cultural enterprises aim to adapt to the conditions that have been altered by coronavirus and with which they intend to achieve structural realignment or gain visitors in the long term. The financial aid for transformation projects covers a maximum of 60 percent of expenditure up to an upper limit of a maximum of 300,000 francs per cultural enterprise. Applications are assessed according to criteria that apply across the whole of Switzerland: Clarity, plausibility and specialist quality of the concept, innovation, expected effectiveness of the project and sustainability.
Regulation concerning short-time working compensation
Provided they satisfy the conditions in accordance with the regulations, cultural enterprises can also apply for short-time working compensation. Short-time working is considered to be loss of working hours attributable to official measures or other circumstances independent of the will of the employer. Since loss of income compensation for cultural enterprises is intended to complement short-time working compensation, those affected are asked to apply for short-time working compensation as a first step where possible.
Emergency aid for cultural professionals and amateur cultural associations
Unlike cultural enterprises, individual cultural professionals can no longer claim loss of income compensation. This is provided for in the new Covid-19 Act of the Federal Government. In order to cover their immediate living expenses, they can still apply for emergency aid from Suisseculture Sociale. Amateur cultural associations can still ask for financial aid from the Federal Government, through their umbrella organisations, for financial losses caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
Preserving cultural diversity and quality in Basel
The aim of the support measures is to soften the economic repercussions of the coronavirus epidemic for cultural professionals and cultural enterprises, as well as to support cultural enterprises to adapt to the circumstances that have been altered by the epidemic, for example in order to maintain an offering for their public despite the necessary restrictions. The support measures aim to prevent lasting damage to the Basel cultural scene and to secure the preservation of cultural diversity.
You can find more information at https://www.kultur.bs.ch/covid-19-massnahmen.html.
Online applications can be submitted there from the start of December 2020.