The Portuguese Association of Technical Services for Events (APSTE) disapproved of what the general director of health, Graça Freitas, said about the restriction of events and considered the statements as “a real attack on the survival of an entire sector”.
“APSTE strongly condemns the statements recently made by the Director-General of Health, in defending a greater restriction of events, and recalls that there have been several examples of success since the beginning of the pandemic, such as the Festa do Avante, the Feira do Livro or the Magic Cube ”, point out the association in a statement.
In the letter, APSTE recalls that "after the realization of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Portugal, the director general of health, Graça Freitas, considered that: we have to restrict events a lot". Taking into account the statements, the representatives of the technical services for events disapprove them and believe that “they contribute, directly or indirectly, to the probable bankruptcy of hundreds of companies in one of the sectors most affected by Covid-19 and to the move to the unemployment of thousands of highly specialized Portuguese ”.
“It is incomprehensible and regrettable that someone with the responsibilities and recent role of Dr. Graça Freitas comes to the public square to make such irresponsible statements, especially in one of the most critical moments for one of the most important sectors of activity in this country. It is important not to forget that the events are directly linked to Tourism, one of the main drivers of the national economy in recent years ”, highlighted Pedro Magalhães, president of APSTE.
“If until now we had little or no work, what do you think will be the reaction of the market and people to this type of statements?”, Asks Pedro Magalhães, stressing that “if the situation was already hopeless in August, just do the math and imagine what these companies and their collaborators are going through now, after seven months without working ”.
Regarding the financial status of the companies, APSTE pointed out that “in the first, made at the end of May, 56% of the universe of associated companies indicated that they did not have sufficient liquidity to pay salaries in the months of August and September; in the second, carried out in August, 20% of the universe of respondents indicated that they had already started dismissal processes ”.
“As for us, the Director-General of Health should retract or, at the very least, clarify these statements, because all the businessmen and workers in this sector feel highly revolted and unfair,” concludes Pedro Magalhães, recalling that, “according to IGAC [General Inspection of Cultural Activities] 12 thousand cultural events have taken place in Portugal since June 1 and, with more or less uproar, there were no problems of major or potential Covid-19 outbreaks ”.