Systemic help

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Overview of system measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on culture and the arts in the Czech Republic.

Updated to 9. 4. 2020

Information from the Ministry of Culture 

The Government has passed Minister Zaorálek’s set of measures to save the culture
Based on the current state and the outlook for cultural events related to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Culture prepared The Proposal of Some Measures to Mitigate the Impact of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic on the Cultural Sector, which was amended by the government today (9 April). The main goal of the proposed measures is to maintain the professional non-profit cultural infrastructure as it has no financial reserves. The total amount assigned to this program is 1.07 billion CZK.

The subjects in the independent arts (primarily those in the all-year subsidy groups of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, and small publisher) that have been providing public cultural services in the Czech Republic for at least 3 years without interruption can apply for the support, provided that they have been successful at least once in the Ministry’s grant procedures in the past three years (2018-2020). The Ministry will also announce the subsidy tender in the program Cultural Activities. The government endorsed the amount of 440 billion CZK.

The subjects of independent non-established theatre, classical and alternative music, and dance and motion art will be able to apply for the support for making culture available through digital media, using multimedia platforms. The applicant shall submit the description of the project, including the budget. The evaluation criteria are the quality of the project. The Ministry of Culture has put aside 30 million CZK for this project.

Professional theatres, orchestras, and choirs may apply for support from the Ministry of Culture if they are perpetually part of the State Support Program for Professional Theatres and Permanent Professional Symphony Orchestras and Choirs. Museums and galleries, which are not state-budget organizations, can also apply for the support if their collections are part of the Central Register of Collections and are accessible for the public in the long term. The applicant shall submit the budget of the project, including the cost assessment, the description of the extent of activity restriction, and the way of dealing with the cut. The Ministry of Culture has 300 million CZK for this support.

First calls for the subsidy programs (see above) to be announced by the Ministry of Culture within weeks.

Apart from the set of measures, the Ministry of Culture has reimbursed subsidies of 750 million CZK for 2020. The subjects that got the subsidy from the Ministry of Culture, but their events will not fully take place, shall not return the part of the subsidy the beneficiary proves valid regarding the costs for the event preparation. The Ministry of Culture shall see the costs as realized.

State help for commercial profit subjects, such as commercial theatres, some of the summer events, and big publishers, needs to be coordinated at the government level because other sectors (gastronomy, tourism) are affected in the same way. They – like other entrepreneurs – can get help from the already government-approved programs, e.g. the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (Antivirus) and Ministry of Industry and Trade (COVID loans, suspension of rents).

Source: Press release of the Ministry of Culture, 9 April 2020

The Ministry of Culture has also prepared an overview of government measures associated with people in culture (employees, freelancers, self-employed, companies, etc.) that can be utilized now or shall be available for cultural subjects and individuals after the Chamber of Deputies passes it in the upcoming days or weeks. The list is available here.

The Ministry of Culture has also released the information from the Department of Art, Literature, and Libraries, concerning the statement of the subsidy and the conditions for the subsidy, see here.


Updated to 24. 3. 2020

Updated measures to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic

  • On 31 March, the Ministry of Industry and Trade announced the call for the nursing benefits for the self-employed. The attached documents in this link monitor the updated measures concerning the help for entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

  • On Tuesday 31 March 2020, the government passed the proposal for amendments in the Antivirus program. The detailed instructions for employers and other details updated as of 2 April can be accessed on the website of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The program is also available for the self-employed, who employ workers.

  • On 31 March, the Ministry of Finance introduced the program of direct support for the affected self-employed. The Association of Independent Theatres does not agree with the present formulation of conditions for the one-time support of the self-employed, based on the comparison of the year-on-year drop in the first quarter of 2019 and 2020, the AIT statement is here. The proposal of the Ministry of Finance must undergo the legislative process.

  • The Ministry of Culture announced the preliminary information about subsidy recipients in the program of Kulturní aktivity v oblasti profesionálního umění/Cultural Activities in Professional Arts. The Ministry of Culture is also preparing the Rescue Program, said Minister Lubomír Zaorálek in his interview for Lidové noviny. We will keep you informed about the development.

The comprehensive overview of existing measures is in the previous edition of the newsletter.

Updated to 26. 3. 2020 

Measures to mitigate the impacts

Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) and Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MLSA) have issued measures to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic.

  • The state will exempt all self-employed people of payments for compulsory social security insurance retroactively since March 2020. The self-employed will not have to pay required prepayments from March to August, thus the total amount of insurance in the yearly statement will be lower in the amount corresponding with minimum prepayments for social security insurance per six months. Self-employed people will be released from the amount.
  • Prepayments for health insurance for self-employed people will be exempt for six months as well (prepayments are considered paid) in the amount of minimum insurance fee.
  • Nursing benefits will be paid to employees during the shutdown of schools and other facilities as long as the government’s extraordinary measures for fighting the COVID-19 epidemic are in force. Nursing benefits also apply for all children of 13 years of age or younger and for those who take care of older handicapped children attending the school. It is possible to take turns in receiving the nursing benefits and they will be paid retroactively for the past month.
  • The program of the Ministry of Industry and Trade will compensate for the cuts in income for the self-employed due to the children's care, based on the declaration submitted at the local trade office. The financial benefit for the self-employed will be 424 CZK for every day in the quarantine/taking care of the family member.
  • The Ministry of Culture is preparing the Rescue Program, yet we do not currently have any detailed information. We will keep you updated.

Information for legal persons

The Minister of Culture will submit the list of measures for saving culture

As said today (26 March), the Minister of Culture Lubomír Zaorálek wants to present a set of measures to the government. “I will ask for 1.5 billion crowns,” he said, adding that the state could compensate 80% of the salary for employees in non-operating theatres. He will also discuss help for the publishers.

The full text of the article is available here.

Updated to 22. 3. 2020

Help from the Ministry of Culture

You can find up-to-date information on the coronavirus pandemic on the ministry website, including important telephone numbers (including crisis hotlines, available from 9am to 7pm daily), contacts, advice, links and information for employers and employees. You can also access information from other ministries. For example, did you know that the Ministry of Health’s website now features a coronavirus chatbot that can answer basic questions and provide links to important contacts?

Up-to-date grant information

The Ministry of Culture asks all successful grant recipients to inform the ministry whether and to what extent their planned projects will take place in the timeframe specified in the application, or if the project or event will be postponed. This information should be sent immediately to the contact named in the call to which you have applied. The same also applies to projects that cannot be realised in the current circumstances. Please also inform the Ministry of Culture of any costs incurred thus far. More information is available here.

Contributory organisations during the coronavirus pandemic

The Ministry of Culture is also collecting information relating to the coronavirus pandemic from contributory organisations. An interview with Pavla Petrová, Director of ATI, on mapping COVID-19’s impact on the independent sector is available here. 

Information for artists stranded abroad

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs's website now includes information about access to an emergency bus link for citizens stranded in various European countries, who are unable to travel back to the Czech Republic due to measures taken to prevent the spread coronavirus. Bus departures and reservation contacts are available here.

Updated to 18. 3. 2020

Structural help

Praha is ready to help city grant recipients, who anticipate issues with the implementation of the cultural events due to extraordinary measures. Frank Bold has launched a legal advisory service, which will help explain the most common legal situations linked to new situations and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic to citizens, businessmen, and municipalities. The state of the independent cultural sector is described in Deník N’s article Not even big players may survive, clubs may disappear. We will update information about further measures on our website.

Mortgages and consumer credits

The Czech Banking Association has issued a resolution on the possibility of the three-month-long deferment of payments of mortgage and consumer credits, the topic was analyzed on in the article Banks would allow people to defer the mortgage and consumer credit payments for three months. The Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank offers an interest-free loan for SMEs affected by the coronavirus and the Ministry of Finance has prolonged the deadline for tax form submission and presented a virus set of measures.

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