COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected cities, and pre-pandemic standards were left behind. As all aspects of life, culture and the cultural sector have experienced a stagnation as well. Museums, movie theaters, and heritage sites are now closed, and cultural activities are postponed. However, as compulsory or voluntary home quarantines all over the world clearly show that people’s demand for culture have not ceased, and culture has constituted most of the time people spend at their homes. Local governments, as the closest administrative units to citizens, continue to take serious measures to mitigate the impact of the crisis on cities and people. The provision of cultural services is also a responsibility of local governments. Through online platforms, municipalities have a chance to deliver cultural activities to people. Yet, as experts point out, local governments’ cultural policies and activities are not satisfactory.
In an effort to help and provide a basis to local governments’ short or medium-term response plans, UCLG-MEWA Committee on Culture and Tourism presents “COVID-19 Emergency Response – Guideline for Local Cultural Action,” which is structured around Five-Priorities. These priorities stated in the guideline provide the recommendations below for municipalities:
- Adopting their own cultural response plans based on local circumstances as a first step,
- Not rushing to reopen cultural venues,
- Organizing online cultural activities, but also having a special focus on disadvantaged groups with limited internet access,
- Giving support to agents of the cultural sector that have been adversely affected by the crisis,
- Creating alternatives for citizens who wish to observe religious or traditional days.