WATCH: Coronavirus ban on mass gatherings hits entertainment industry suppliers

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Mar 18, 2020

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Pretoria – The prohibition of mass gatherings and public events because of Covid-19 does not only hit famous artists and performers in the pocket, but also established events management companies and vendors.  

There is a direct cost impact that will be experienced by the average South African who had bought an advance ticket to an event, when the virus was still only associated with the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic.

Shai Evian, chief executive of ticketing and cashless platform Howler, appealed to South Africans to consider the situation of club DJs, vendors, bar companies, security, tenting, décor companies, and to empathise when they are notified of partial refunds on events. 

“In the case of postponements or cancellations due to extraordinary circumstances like Covid-19, the event organiser may deduct reasonable costs incurred from the ticket value. This is why most cancellation policies have higher fees closer to the event,” said Evian.

“So, if you receive only a partial refund, please don’t scream at the organiser. Stop to think about the situation they’re in. Have compassion. It’s not cool to lose out on cash, we agree. But stop to think about the unbelievable threat to the industry.”

He said without partial refunds or postponements, many event organisers could go out of business. 

“And if that happens, your favourite events won’t just be pushed out. They’ll be gone."

When it comes to cancellations and ticket insurance, Evian said many organisers have event cancellation insurance in place, but communicable diseases are not covered by the policies.

“Like many of us, event organisers find themselves out of luck. Similarly, if you have purchased ticket insurance, you’re covered for most things, but not for event cancellation as a result of a government ban or travel warning,” he said.

Evian advised revellers to be patient with companies as they requested refunds to be processed because organisers were dealing with massive demands for refunds. 

He said event organisers would communicate directly about postponements or refunds.

“If an event is postponed, take that ticket! At some stage, this whole crazy time will end and you’ll want to get out and celebrate,” said Evian.

South Africa’s officially confirmed coronavirus infections had risen to 116 by Wednesday morning, the government said. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa this week declared a national state of disaster due to the rising infections. 

As part of state interventions, gatherings of more than 100 people are now prohibited in the country. 

Video: Kritina Maharaj/SAPA+

African News Agency (ANA)

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