Persons who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, will not be allowed to attend musical shows and concerts when the entertainment industry reopens next week.
The entertainment industry will reopen on January 24, 2022, exactly 14 days after the reopening of schools, in line with guidelines issued by President Museveni at the beginning of the year. This is the first time that cinemas, bars, and recreation centres will be allowed to operate since March 2020, when Uganda announced its first lockdown as a measure to keep coronavirus disease at bay.
It is against this background that the Uganda National Cultural Centre-UNCC, the Ministry of Gender and the Ministry of Health have listed do’s and don’ts for the sector that usually attracts several revelers, often in a frenzy mood characterized by great excitement or wild behaviour.
Apart from the vaccination of revelers, the agencies have said that all artists must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or must present a negative result from tests conducted within 72 hours from the day of the performance. The interaction between revelers and the artists has also been discouraged before, during or after the event.
Event organizers have also been asked to ensure that there is a space measuring not less than three meters between the stage and the audience. All revelers will also be required to wear face masks throughout the show and there should be compulsory sanitizing at the entrance.
Robert Musiitwa the UNCC Public Relations Officer said that event organizers who flout the guidelines will have their shows cancelled. They have also been asked to sign a compliance form before any event starts to guarantee that they will adhere to all the guidelines.
Mariam Ndagire, a Director of Afri Talent Drama Group said that artists will endeavor to follow the guidelines if this is the only way to get out of a two-year limbo and guarantee the safety of performers and their fans.
Hannington Bugingo, the president Uganda Comedian’s Association says that the same guidelines have been applied elsewhere in the world. However, he is concerned that key players in the sector were not consulted when these SOPs were being developed.
Mesarch Ssemakula, a renowned artist said that although they had not been informed about the new guidelines at the time of the interview, many of the suggestions were not practical. He added that instead of setting unrealistic guidelines, the government should allow artists to influence their fans to go for vaccination.
Andrew Benon Kibuuka of the Bakayimbira Drama Actors also expressed readiness to resume business and adherence to SOPs. “This is not a Ugandan issue rather international and we have seen it on different airlines where no one enters without a vaccination certificate,” Kibuuka said.