26 January 2022
Mr Jack Chan, JP
Acting Secretary for Home Affairs
Home Affairs Bureau
Dear Mr Chan,
Call For Reopening of LCSD Venues
The recent closure of all cultural venues has dealt yet another great blow to the arts and cultural sector. On behalf of all of us working in the arts, I would like to call on the Government to consider reopening the LCSD venues for rehearsals, recordings and live-streaming in order to minimize the ripple effects of programme cancellations, save jobs and help sustain the development of the industry as a whole.
Apart from the adverse effects on box office income, programme cancellations also mean wage losses to many people. Most of the performing artists, stage crew, cultural group organizers and operators as well as other supporting staff are self-employed or freelanced and are not entitled to any job security benefits. Keeping the venues open will allow them to continue to pursue their passions and keep their jobs. This in turn will help ease the brain drain from the sector which is evident with the onslaught of Covid 19. Also, being able to have on-going rehearsals will ensure that our performers are well prepared whenever the scheduled programmes are resumed.
In fact, the suspension of in-person performances does not necessarily put an end to all programmes. Our artists can still make their recordings and have online streaming if they have the venues to do so. This will give the general public another alternative for their entertainment needs, especially during the pandemic when everyone spends more time at home.
Last but not the least, online performances and hence, less interruptions to the regular programmes, will help our arts and cultural organizations keep their sponsorship which is vital for their survival.
There being said, we fully understand public health and safety is the community’s top priority. The sector has been prudent in following all Covid infection control measures in the venues and will continue to do so as the situation evolves.
I will be grateful if you can seriously consider reopening all LCSD venues for the sector to resume work as soon as possible.
Chairman of HKAAA /
Executive Director of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
cc: Mr Joe Wong, JP, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Home Affairs Bureau;
Ms Kinnie Wong, Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (2), Home Affairs Bureau;
Mr Vincent Liu, JP, Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Leisure and Cultural Service Department;
Ms Linus Fung, Deputy Director (Culture), Leisure and Cultural Service Department;
Mr Kenneth Fok, JP, Member of the Legislative Council