Empty cultural places, drastically reduced mobility and tourism blockade as an effect of COVID-19 confinement measures not only generate an evident economic damage to cultural institutions, companies and workers but also create a strong economic and social discomfort at city level. Although many EU member states are now entering into a de-confinement phase, many cultural places remain closed or subject to stringent physical-distancing measures. In these new circumstances, one main condition for the sustainability of most cultural and creative sectors (CCS) has been almost entirely disrupted: the possibility to have a public ‘live’ as a source of revenues to meet operating costs, putting more than seven million jobs at risk in Europe.
Using cultural jobs statistics from Eurostat and the JRC’s Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor, this report identifies highly vulnerable cultural jobs and creative cities. Despite the unprecedented challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, some cities are already experimenting new event formats to better reach local inhabitants and nearby communities, while ensuring the financial sustainability of cultural activities. Both national and city governments have issued a wide range of policy measures (from compensatory grants to tax reliefs) to maintain alive Europe’s cultural capital, while giving cultural institutions, companies and workers the time to get prepared to post-COVID times. Proximity tourism could indeed help compensate losses from international tourism, while new cultural services that meet societal needs (educational, health, environmental…) would help restore the European social fabric and people’s well-being.