Promises response in the first half of May – VG

OPTIMISTIC: Minister of Culture Abid Q. Raja promises the festival industry answers around this summer’s events in early May. “Until everything is back to normal, I promise that corona packages will be available to everyone affected by the pandemic,” he tells VG. Photo: Berit Roald

– In the first half of May, the government will clarify how the summer can be for larger events.

Published:Just updated

This is what Minister of Culture Abid Q. Raja says to VG after Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Thus, he aligns himself with his boss and her first steps for a cautious reopening of society.

– This is the entire government’s plan, but with the eyes of the Minister of Culture, I am glad that culture is prioritized and mentioned already from step one. Cultural life was happily given a large place in the Prime Minister’s speech, Raja believes.

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The Minister of Culture is fully aware that an entire festival industry has been impatient for clear signals for this summer’s major events. Some time ago, a government-appointed “Summer Group” submitted its report on how they envision the summer. The group has been led by Frank Nes in Bergen Live.

EIA WERE THERE AGAIN: Are we getting to this this summer? The motif is taken from the Roskilde Festival’s main stage, The Orange Stage. Photo: Per Lange, Roskilde Festival

– These had envisioned a clear answer now after Easter, but we have not managed that. Had we forced an answer now, it would have been a tight answer that they would hardly have appreciated. The group has shown understanding for this. When we started working on this, we had neither mutated viruses nor delays around the Astra Zeneca vaccine to work against, says Abid Q. Raja.

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Frank Nes himself says that the Prime Minister’s speech today was “as expected”.

– For our industry, it will now be waiting for the government, probably through the Minister of Culture, at the beginning of May to present a separate report on this summer’s major events. This is also something we in the Summer Group expected and were foreshadowed by Raja when we submitted our report on 18 March, says Nes.

– What is gratifying from our point of view is that the Prime Minister in today’s report to the Storting specifically mentions the corona certificate – or covidpass or health passport, if you will, as an important tool from phase three in the reopening, he says.

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Frank Nes emphasizes that a corona certificate is “enormously important” for their industry.

– And not least that the discussion that takes place in parts of the Norwegian public – which refers to similar digital health / covid passports that will be used in other countries such as Denmark, Germany and the UK – more or less gallantly fails to mention that a such digital covidpass has vaccination as one of at least two tools in the toolbox where the other tool is rapid testing. Here it is important that you look at the whole picture, not just parts of it, he says, and adds that both Denmark and England plan for extensive use of rapid tests.

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– Either with home testing and / or centrally located test stations where you can get a quick response (within 15-20 minutes) by SMS with a login to your own health profile which is on an app. The testing is free, says Frank Nes.

Like Prime Minister Solberg, Minister of Culture Raja reminds that the government’s plan for today still depends on the current infection situation. Until step three can hopefully be started a week or two into June with rapid tests and a vaccine certificate, the plan is to eventually open up to 200 people – or 200 in three cohorts, ie a total of 600 people – at larger outdoor events.

– I am optimistic about the month of July, and the longer we come out in July, the more optimistic I will be for August, says Abid Q. Raja.

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