ITALY: New DPCM, the Government should not ignore civil society acting in the sphere of culture and social inclusion.

Statement by ARCI, originally published in Italian, on 25 ottobre 2020, accessible here

We are very disappointed to see that the measures contained in the new Prime Ministerial Decree just issued by the Government show serious short-sightedness. They take absolutely no account of the role that the Cultural and Recreational Circles play in the country both as an antidote to loneliness and cultural and material impoverishment for citizens of all ages and in the promotion of culture and sociality. In recent months we have continued to carry out activities in full compliance with the rules against contagion and with a great sense of responsibility.

We are well aware that the epidemiological emergency is not over, as the data on contagions show that cases have been growing for days, and we are aware that health is a primary good. We have always been aware of the responsibility needed to face this historical moment.

We were among the first national organizations to promote training on contagion prevention measures, convinced that it is necessary to promote responsible sociality. We are equally convinced, however, that places of sociality and dissemination of culture must remain open, all in compliance with protocols, to give safe spaces of life.

Convinced that culture, sociality and participation are essential elements, even at this stage, for social cohesion, democratic stability and the restart and growth of the citizens of our country. It is possible to have sociality and diffusion of culture, while also maintaining a safe distance.

The crisis linked to the pandemic has also hit hard the associations acting in the field of cultural and social promotion that are widespread in the territory. Nevertheless, they have played a valuable role in the activities of proximity and maintenance of social relations with great commitment and effort. Closing without alternatives, if you are not forced to stay at home, can be more dangerous than an organized normality, in the particular moment we are going through. And it would have dramatic consequences, certainly for our organization, ARCI, but also for many others.

We expect not to be ignored by measures of compensation for damages related to measures that require the suspension of activities and that do not only concern commercial activities, which for non-commercial entities are secondary by definition.