At least $424,866,284 in revenue has been lost by Massachusetts’ cultural nonprofits due to coronavirus cancellations and closures, according to 392 nonprofits who responded to the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s June “Covid Recovery Survey.”

“While the necessary public health measures in place for the past 18 weeks—like social distancing and Covid-related closures—have resulted in beneficial public health outcomes, they have also wreaked havoc on the economics of the cultural sector,” Mass Cultural Council Acting Executive Director David Slatery said in a press release.

The state arts agency reported that “cultural nonprofit organizations estimate that it will take on average two years (and in some cases, up to five years) to recover programming and financial status back to pre-civid levels.”

Sixty-eight percent of the responding organizations expect they will have to institute layoffs, furloughs, and reductions in pay and working hours for their employees, the MCC reported.

Retooling for safe reopening is complicated and costly. Ninety-three percent the survey respondents provide programming “mostly in person,” 88% do most of their programming indoors, and almost 1/3 provide programming aligned with school activity or direct cultural programming in schools.

To reopen safely, cultural nonprofits are looking at reduced occupancy for programming, shifting from in-person to virtual, and from indoor to outdoor. They’re updating HVAC systems, increasing cleaning, and adding cleaning and sanitizing stations for employees and audiences. And there remains the costs of working remotely. Implementing all this could add up to $117 million, survey respondents estimated.

Dr. Seuss Museum at the Springfield Museums, May 6, 2019. (© Greg Cook photo)

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Categories: Art