The Government published the Resilience and Recovery 2020 - 2021, the Plan for Living with COVID-19, on 15 September. This is a cross-Government approach to managing the pandemic for the coming months. This plan sets out how the balance between public health, economic and social aspects of living with Covid-19 will operate in the short to medium term.
Most of the country is now at level 2, which is based on a medium-term approach to managing risk. At all times the priority will be to keep our schools open, while keeping people safe and protecting the resilience of our economy and communities.
I am very aware of the impact of the pandemic on those working in the commercial events sector, not just in terms of performers but also the crews and the wide range of people it takes to put on a drama or a music performance. I have met the Events Industry Alliance and my Department is in regular contact with the representative groups.
The Deputy approached me informally to make sure there was a member of the events industry on the task force. In response to the Deputy's informal request, I have put two on the task force to make sure their voices are heard.
The arts and culture sectors have been severely impacted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic; cultural venues and events were among the first to be closed in the country and they will be among the last to recover.
The Arts Council is the statutory body charged with supporting and developing the arts in Ireland and has received an additional €25 million in funding in 2020. Among the measures being introduced are new and additional bursaries and commissions from the Arts Council, including supports for freelance artists and those looking to develop projects on a collaborative basis.
The jobs stimulus package has specifically provided a wide range of supports across the culture and audio visual sectors. These include the €10 million pilot performance and production support package to support the live performance and the audiovisual production sector as well as a new €10 million culture fund.
The recently appointed task force will prepare a report including a set of recommendations on how best the arts and culture sector can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the upcoming budget and the development of the national economic plan, the Government will review and refine existing supports. The programme for Government states that that task force must feed into the national economic plan but as I said earlier, I have also asked them to give me a report outlining their key priorities ahead of the budget so that I am not waiting until 31 October. It is to ensure I get their key priorities before the budget. On 31 October, after the budget, that task force will feed into the national economic plan when they present the report.