Athens Mayor submits proposals on how to make theaters safe, legal

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis set out proposals on Tuesday aimed at improving oversight and safety at the dozens of theaters located in the Greek capital after it emerged that most of them were operating without licenses.

Kaminis submitted to the Interior and Culture ministries his municipality’s suggestions for an outdated 1937 law to be changed and replaced by one that governs how theaters obtain permits and what safety standards they have to meet.

A team of experts, including members of the fire service and representatives of the theater world, was recently appointed by the municipal council to examine the matter. The legislation that has been drafted proposes a process by which two licenses are issued: one to approve the use of a building as a theater and one to allow the theater to begin operating. One of the prerequisites for licenses to be issued will be that theaters meet with fire safety standards. Under the proposals put forward by Kaminis, theaters will have to undergo fire safety tests every three years.

The would-be legislation also proposes that municipalities, working in conjunction with the fire service and town-planning departments, have the authority to issue permits for theaters.

Kaminis urged the ministries to respond to the proposals quickly so Athens’s theaters could operate legally once the new theater season begins in the fall.

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