Artists and entertainment joints have expressed excitement over Tuesday’s decision by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to relax restrictions on public gatherings.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, who is the task force co-chairperson, said the revised restrictions include an increase on the number of people allowed per gathering.
The minister said 100 people are now allowed for an indoor gathering while 250 people are allowed for an outdoor event. Further, she said bars and clubs will operate from 2PM till midnight.
In an interview, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said this means artists can now stage live performances as long as their audience size is within the permitted numbers.
For the past months, artists have been asking government to ease the restrictions which they said were choking the industry to death.
Musicians Union of Malawi president Gloria Manong’a said musicians will now save their careers and livelihoods which were heavily threatened.
She said: “It has been a tough time for us and this news is a relief. We are hoping that as we go, the government will liberate us to the fullest.
“But I should also remind my fellow musicians to follow the preventive measures during their events.”
In a separate interview, event host and Bar Owners Association of Malawi interim general secretary McDonald Soko described the decision as fair considering the current status of the pandemic.
He said they are looking forward to receiving support from government to revitalise their businesses.
“Although we are looking forward to full operationalisation of our businesses, we have no capital left at the moment,” said Soko.
Black Missionaries Band manager Ras Ray Harawa, whose band recently postponed a live show due to the restrictions, said he hopes the relief will last for a longer period.
“The restrictions affected artists and their dependents so badly as they couldn’t afford to buy food, pay school fees and other necessities,” he said.