In response to "the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Banco Português de Fomento introduces, [on] 30 June, the Covid-19 Economy Support Line for Major Cultural Events", reads the statement released by services of the Ministry of Culture. "With an endowment of 30 million euros, this line of support was created with the aim of meeting the liquidity needs of companies promoting cultural events and their obligation to reimburse amounts received for tickets and admission to festivals and spectacles of a similar nature", says the document. The support line is announced on the eve of a demonstration, to be held in Lisbon, which aims to draw the Government's attention to the crisis in the culture, shows and festivals sector, which has seen the majority of professionals and companies without working for over a year.
The Portuguese Association of Technical Services for Events (APSTE), one of the organizers of the event scheduled for Wednesday, calculates that companies in this sector will have losses in excess of the one hundred million euros estimated for 2020. "This year is still being worse than last year," APSTE's chairman, Pedro Magalhães, told the Lusa news agency today, referring to the mandatory testing of Covid-19, for access to cultural events, and the plethora of show cancellations. The support line now announced aims to respond "to the obligation to refund amounts received as tickets for festivals and shows of a similar nature (...) that were not held or were canceled due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic ", in accordance with the terms of the legislation in force. It also intends to respond to "liquidity needs, especially in view of the holding of major cultural events in the 18 months after contracting the operation".
Among the features of the line, there is also the possibility for the beneficiary to "access an additional amount to cover treasury needs (based on a plan that establishes the beneficiary's liquidity needs, for the following 18 months, to carry out cultural events", up to the maximum amounts of 40 thousand euros for micro-enterprises, 125 thousand for small businesses and 300 thousand for medium-sized companies. The beneficiaries, according to the website of Banco Português de Fomento (BPF), are "micro, small and medium-sized companies", which carry out activities "in the performing arts", "in support of the performing arts" or "exploitation of concert halls and related activities", and which are registered under the respective codes. They also cannot have been considered "companies in difficulties on 31 December, 2019", nor present "incidents not regularised with credit institutions and the Mutual Guarantee System, at the date of issuance of the contract". Among other conditions, they must have their situation registered with Finance and Social Security. To access the helpline, companies must contact "an affiliated credit institution". The general conditions can be consulted at https://www.bpfomento.pt/pt.
The demonstration by companies promoting festivals, major shows and cultural events is scheduled for Wednesday, between Marquês de Pombal and Praça dos Restauradores, in Lisbon, from 4pm. The protest organized by APSTE was joined by other associations in the cultural sector, namely the Associação Espetáculo - Portuguese Agents and Producers, APEFE - Association Promoters Spectacles, Festivals and Events and APORFEST - Portuguese Association of Music Festivals. In the summer of last year, which has already elapsed without the usual festivals, APORFEST estimated a loss of around 1.6 billion euros, in the sector's impact on the economy, against the two billion generated in 2019.