Country reports

LITHUANIA

Expert author: Audronė Rimkutė
Last update: April 15th

On the 13th of March 2020, the Government of Lithuania decided to declare quarantine on the entire territory of the Republic of Lithuania from March 16th onwards. The measures of quarantine included restrictions on cross-border movement, prohibition of public events and private gatherings, and the closure of shops, shopping and/or entertainment centres, catering facilities, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, and cultural, leisure, entertainment and sports establishments.

On the 16th of March, the Government adopted the Economic and Financial Action Plan for COVID–19 that focuses on ensuring the health of the population, helping small and medium-sized businesses, and stimulating employment and the economy. It is planned that 10% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will be allocated to the implementation of all measures of the plan, which will amount to EUR 5 billion. According to the Government’s plan, EUR 500 million will be allocated for preservation of jobs. The plan commits the state to contribute jointly to employers’ efforts to preserve jobs for up to three months by covering part of the downtime or downtime allowance for employees. The employers must guarantee a benefit for employees of at least the minimum monthly wage (MMW). The estimated share of state funds will account for 60 percent, but no more than one MMW. This provision is important for the entire non-governmental sector, including cultural organisations.

EUR 50 million is allocated for the self-employed who have paid social security contributions and who are unable to carry out their working activities due to the quarantine. The plan provides a flat-rate benefit of EUR 257 per month for these persons for up to three months. This provision is also relevant for self-employed persons in the cultural and creative industries. EUR 2 million is allocated for the Artists Social Security Programme to provide and pay creative downtime for artists who are unable to generate income from their working activities due to the quarantine. The Lithuanian Ministry of Culture is currently implementing this measure.

On the 8th of April, addressing the problems in the cultural sector caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Lithuanian Government approved the Action Plan for Support of Culture Sector that was prepared by the Ministry of Culture. The Ministry proposed to allocate an additional EUR 5 million to the integrated cultural sector promotion programme. The Lithuanian film sector will receive EUR 2 million to support cinemas, new productions, distribution, individual filmmakers, television and audiovisual content. The measure will be implemented by the Lithuanian Film Centre. EUR 3 million will be distributed through a special programme of the Lithuanian Council for Culture, which was created for digitization of cultural products and services and adaptation of them to digital environment. The funds will be distributed to legal entities – cultural organisations, including NGOs and state funded cultural institutions. The measure is scheduled to start in April.

Also, the Lithuanian Council for Culture redistributed the Culture Support Fund and allocated EUR 600 000 for individual grants for artists and culture professionals, awarded through a competition for three months to facilitate creative work. It is planned that more than 300 artists will get grants. The Council also administers funds of compensatory remuneration for the reproduction of works for private use. By agreement with copyright and related rights associations, all these funds (over EUR 700 000) are redirected to compensate losses of self-employed persons, working in the field of culture.