Last Updated: 9.22.2021
The following guidance is organized around the distinct categories: people, places, processes, and operator/employer plans. Additional recommendations, unique to our industry, are denoted in pink font.
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Table of Contents:
A Note on Equity
As you think through safety for you, your space, co-workers, and audiences while you practice, teach, manage spaces and even perform again, consider that these practices and regulations do not affect everyone equally, and that efforts should also be made to create equity among peers as well as the people attending events and lessons. Building regulatory measures for safety from the spread of COVID-19 has required the implementation of tracing protocols, data gathering, health screenings and behavioral guidelines, and these measures are being deployed in contexts where there already exist other systems of surveillance and security that disproportionately affect people along lines of disability, race, immigration status, and gender. Furthermore, during a health care crisis just as the one we are living through, access to vaccination, stable housing, testing, employment, reliable information, and even personal protective equipment has been more challenging in working class communities of color. What this could mean to your organization is that while COVID-19 safety is a priority, you and your coworkers should manage to navigate how each regulation affects people from various social backgrounds differently.
Protocols around whether a person is vaccinated, on what type of documentation they carry, or how their employment networks are informed during tracing processes, while addressing efforts to control the spread of a virus, carry a variety of biases that fall on racial and class lines, potentially making your spaces more difficult and indeed less safe for disabled people, working class folk, people of color, and non-citizens. Sharing disability status, or it becoming known due to surveillance, can be quite punitive. For this reason, providing accessibility accommodations, even if not requested, supports disabled folks who do not feel safe openly identifying. What you can do to address this systemic bias is to adapt regulations to make space for the needs and requests of the people you work with and your audiences. For example, valid and important concerns about data gathering might arise from immigrant folk in your working community, and you’ll need to adapt those regulations in ways that honor those concerns. You might need to speak with directly affected folk about what other systems of care, tracing and travel safety you can set up that are informed by their needs and concerns. Before thinking about security or law enforcement support for de-escalation needs that might arise, you should look into other alternative ways of upholding your space regulations and meeting de-escalation needs. Directly affected communities can perhaps point to wants that you should consider when training staff and co-workers.
A safer space is not made through a proclamation of safety or welcoming, but through listening and adaptation processes that involve the wellbeing of people that are affected by an issue. As you review these guidelines and different scenarios, consider their implementation as opportunities to create listening space for directly affected communities and to adapt to their needs and concerns. You’ll have a stronger sense of unity, and ultimately, safety, this way.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, note that your activities are likely considered moderate or high risk unless you are participating as a soloist or teaching/performing virtually as the only person in a studio; the very nature of visiting and using a dance studio space—as a patron, dancer teacher, or audience member—requires some sort of travel, public interaction, and use of on-site equipment, all of which come with a degree of risk. The “type of risk” will vary based on the actual activities you plan to engage in and when, such as: individual or distanced group activities; organized no/low-contact group activities for specific, consistent groups; organized no/low-contact group activities for public groups; local performances and/or showings; and/or touring engagements of multiple performances and/or showings, requiring travel.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, consider:
- Limiting floorwork and the touching of floors
- If floorwork is necessary, you want to notify the studio, theater, or performing arts center you are in to ensure that there is spaced-out class, rehearsal, and performance times to allow for adequate cleaning and disinfection of the floor.
ARCHIVED: If you are a dance studio visitor/renter who is a dancer, arrive with your dance clothes or costume on or under street clothes to avoid communal gathering in dressing rooms, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, do not linger or congregate on site.
- In the instance that you are congregating and ignoring these requests from the Responsible Party (i.e., dance studio, theater, and/or performing arts space), note that the Responsible Party is empowered by state guidance to remove you and/or your group to eliminate congregating in their space and may further choose to restrict your access to their space in the future, out of respect for their entire community’s safety.
Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces
BEST PRACTICE: Dance studio visitors/renters, be aware of the increased risk of exposure that comes with regularly using shared and/or enclosed spaces like elevators and restrooms. Avoid them when possible, and when this is not possible, be sure to have PPE and practice thorough hand hygiene.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, be aware that New York State expects each studio, theater, and/or performing arts space to comply with and ensure all those within their space comply with state guidance and safety protocols. Those who refuse (employees or public) will be immediately addressed by facility management and likely removed.
BEST PRACTICE: Dance studio visitors/renters, ask what the “whistleblowing” method (that allows for real-time reports and ongoing, anonymous reports/surveys) is for you to share if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, or if you see someone not complying with health and safety measures.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, be sure to consistently use facilities’ digital pre-registration, pre-space booking, and pre-ticket reservations to book class, space, and buy tickets.
ARCHIVED: The following are recommendations for dance studio visitors/renters of outdoor locations:
- Be mindful of public interaction (be aware of taped-off areas to keep dancers and the public at a safe distance, honor staff that enforces distance requests, etc.), keeping in mind that it is best practice to maintain at least six (6) feet of distance at all times.
- Review the protocols provided to you by the Responsible Party around their safety measures and expectations of visitors/renters and any others you may wish to independently enforce for yourself or others in your group.
- If you are rehearsing or taking class, consider what “safe” interaction means for your group, based on individual comfort levels, agreements, and the implementation of any bubbling or cohort model (See Glossary for definitions of Pod, Bubble, and Cohort).
- If you are a patron or audience member, understand that the program may vary due to a necessary understudy or change of repertory in the instance that a member of the performance group is confirmed to have COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms near or around the performance date.
- Masks should be enforced at all times.
Movement & Commerce
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, consider the following when traveling to and from the dance studio:
- Use non-public transit when possible (walking, biking, cab, car service, etc.).
- Take public transit in the safest manner possible, including wearing your mask, avoiding high-touch surfaces, and washing your hands immediately upon arrival.
- Intentionally schedule your activity at the dance studio so that you may avoid peak transit hours.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, be aware of these precautions for anyone traveling—for work or otherwise:
- Travel enforcement teams will be stationed at airports statewide to meet arriving aircrafts at gates and to request from disembarking passengers proof of completion of the State Department of Health traveler form, which they received in flight.
- All out-of-state travelers from designated states must complete the form upon entering New York. Travelers coming to New York from designated states through other means of transport, including trains and cars, must fill out the form online.
- The New York State Department of Health updated the COVID-19 Travel Advisory so that as of April 10, asymptomatic travelers entering New York State from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine. Quarantine, consistent with the CDC recommendations, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous three months. Symptomatic travelers must immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.
Air Handling Systems
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, be mindful of the air-conditioning and/or fan direction within the space and minimize the time you spend within the airflow path.
- Exercising indoors can pose a greater risk of transmission than exercising outdoors for multiple reasons, including less airflow and being in an enclosed space.
- Being in an enclosed space with others for longer than 10 min increases the chances of exposure and infection.
- The following are ways to help maximize fresh air intake:
- Open windows when possible.
- Keep doors open when possible.
- Consider adding fans in windows for increased fresh air flow.
- Position fans to direct air in a single air flow direction.
- When possible, have the airflow directed above head level to prevent air blowing directly from one person to another person.
- When possible split groups up so there are less people sharing space at any given time. At the minimum, follow CDC-/state- required capacity requirements.
- Acceptable face coverings are required in all indoor public gathering spaces for unvaccinated individuals unless otherwise specifically excused by necessity (drinking water) or work requirements (performing).
- Acceptable face coverings should be worn by unvaccinated individuals in all indoor public spaces even if you are alone, as someone could enter the space.
- Note that vaccine access and experiences have fallen along class, immigration status and racial lines. Consider, if possible, establishing face covering guidelines for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. Consider models that acknowledge CDC guidelines with regards to vaccinated and unvaccinated people and require safe behavior from all patrons.
Hygiene, Cleaning & Disinfection
BEST PRACTICE: Dance studio visitors/renters, stay up to date on COVID-19 safety, including hand and respiratory hygiene, PPE protocols and access, and cleaning and disinfection protocols and procedures, and explore ongoing, regular training sessions. Example resources include:
ARCHIVED: If you are a dance studio visitor/renter who is also a dancer, consider the timing of your end goal:
- Does it make sense for you and/or other dancers to return to the studios if safe performance cannot happen until months later?
- How will you make space to recondition you and/or other dancers’ endurance and strength after such an extended and unusual layoff/industry pause?
- Since you have had to condition in smaller spaces, on different floor surfaces, and/or with varied instruction, you will need to make an appropriate and graded progression back to full dancing that will require a minimum of four to six (4–6) weeks depending on your company and dance genre.
Dance studio visitors/renters, consider asking your studio to clearly and accessibly communicate COVID-19 information and reopening protocols, where written or spoken:
- For all digital communication to your dance community (e.g. via Facebook or in your e-newsletter), ensure images are verbally described in the image’s caption and ensure that information can be read via screen readers (e.g. avoid screenshots of Twitter posts).
- Review Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to further your digital accessibility measures.
- Depending on student/staff/parent cohorts, consider providing ASL interpretation of health updates, Braille versions of key signage and a COVID safe badge, and Easy Read versions of all or select COVID-related communications to support those who are deaf/hard of hearing, those who are blind/vision-impaired, or those with intellectual disability.
- For spoken communication to people with companions, ensure communication is directed squarely to the person and not their companion.
If you are a dance studio visitor/renter concerned about allergic or anaphylactic reactions, contact the dance studio to learn what cleaning and disinfectant products they are using.
Screening & Testing
BEST PRACTICE: Dance studio visitors/renters, encourage all members of your group to self-monitor their symptoms. This may include but is not limited to:
- Checking for fever > 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, cough, shortness of breath twice a day
- Daily review of other symptoms that could be related, e.g. sore throat, congestion, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, loss of sense of smell, pink eye
- Anyone who develops symptoms should leave immediately, seek care from their physician, and isolate
BEST PRACTICE: If you are a dance studio visitor/renter, please consider getting a health screening prior to any indoor or outdoor activities/gatherings.
If you are a dance studio visitor/renter who does not have health insurance, know that COVID-19 testing is free, confidential, and available at various locations. Those seeking health insurance may consider visiting:
Dance studio visitors/renters, know your rights when it comes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding confidentiality of medical records from health checks. Health checks that use only pass/fail are permissible, whereas your actual temperature and/or additional details are your private health information and are not to be shared or tracked.
- If you are a disabled individual, also note that the ADA permits employers to exclude employees with a medical condition that would pose a direct threat to health or safety, which is to be determined based on the best available objective medical evidence. Guidance from CDC or other public health authorities is such evidence. Therefore, employers will be acting consistent with the ADA as long as any screening implemented is consistent with advice from the CDC and public health authorities for that type of workplace at that time.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, understand in advance what individuals are required to disclose in daily health screenings and temperature checks and what happens if someone contracts COVID-19.
Explain contact tracing procedures that come into place when someone from the group is infected, which can include where data is stored, how it is used, how long it is maintained. Propose ways to notify other employers or spaces in ways that are anonymous, or that don’t require personal data about a member’s families, addresses, etc.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, ask or determine who the Responsible Parties’ central point of contact is. This point of contact may vary by activity, location, shift, or day; they are responsible for receiving and attesting to having reviewed all health screening questionnaires, and for receiving information from patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members who later experience COVID-19-related symptoms.
As per Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of the Key to NYC program, starting August 17, people 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by or authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO for indoor dining, indoor fitness (includes dance studios), and indoor entertainment. Resources on vaccines and the Key to NYC program can be found on the Resources page of this website. Responsible Parties should be prepared to, at any time, adjust and adapt between various levels of risk in the event of a spreader event or rise in COVID-19 infection rates.
- Proof of vaccination may include:
Excelsior Pass is a digital ecosystem that enables individuals to store digital proof of test results and/or vaccine status and businesses and venues to verify these items without accessing personal health data. Learn more and download the app on the New York Forward website. In considering the use of Excelsior Pass, account for the many data privacy and legitimate concerns from immigrant communities all over New York.
NYC COVID Safe App is part of the “Key to NYC Pass” initiative to provide proof of vaccination. Many New York City employers, businesses, and venues are requiring verification of immunization or weekly proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test for their workforce and patrons. Use this app to store and present the necessary documentation to verify that you have met these requirements. The documentation you upload into this app is not shared with anyone and stays on your phone only.
Tracing & Tracking
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, remember that if you are alerted, via tracing, tracking, or another mechanism, that you have come into close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19, you are required to self-report to any and all employers at the time of alert and shall follow any protocol provided.
- The best practice would be to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days after learning of your potential exposure.
- Propose ways to notify other employers or spaces in ways that are anonymous, or that don’t require personal data about your students’ families, addresses, etc.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, in the instance that you or someone else you are in contact with is confirmed to have COVID-19 and have/has visited the studio within the past 14 days:
- BEST PRACTICE: Immediately notify the studio’s contact person and/or site safety monitor, who will notify their respective public health authority that will contact the state agency to begin contact tracing.
- You must also immediately notify your employer.
- If you don’t feel safe with other employers’ knowing of your contact tracing and risk event, request to discuss ways to notify other employers or spaces in ways that are anonymous, or that don’t require personal data about your family, addresses, etc, to be shared.
- With the local public health authority and the Infection Mitigation Coordinator, you may help identify the areas of your facilities where the infected individual visited.
- Any known individuals who were within six (6) feet of you will be notified, must immediately report the instance to their employers, and must quarantine for 14 days.
- These individuals are not permitted back into the studio until the 14-day quarantine is completed.
- The spaces in which the infected individual remained longer than 10 minutes will be closed for 24 hours, ventilated, cleaned, and disinfected.
- The infected individual can return to work and/or the studio following:
- At least 14 days of isolation since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and with other symptoms improving.
- At least 14 days of isolation since the date the infected person had their positive test, if the individual was asymptomatic and continued to have no symptoms.
- Note: The infected individual is not required to undergo further testing unless recommended by their health care provider.
- A healthcare provider may recommend that the infected individual undergo repeat testing for COVID-19 to end their isolation earlier than would be done according to the criteria above. If so, they can be around others after they receive two (2) negative test results in a row, from tests done at least 24 hours apart.
- If the infected individual has a severe illness from COVID-19 (admitted to a hospital, needed oxygen), their healthcare provider may recommend staying in isolation for longer than 14 days after their symptoms first appear (possibly up to 20 days) and they may need to finish their period of isolation at home. If testing is available in the infected individual’s community, their healthcare provider may recommend that they undergo repeat testing for COVID-19 to end their isolation earlier than would be done according to the criteria above. If so, they can be around others after they receive two (2) negative tests results in a row, from tests done at least 24 hours apart.
- The infected individual should only undergo repeat testing at the recommendation of their healthcare provider and that is done only if they want to end the isolation earlier than normal for the case type.
4. OPERATOR/EMPLOYER PLANS
On September 6, Governor Kathy Hochul designated COVID-19 a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act, which requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans to prevent workplace infections. The NY HERO Act mandates extensive new workplace health and safety protections and workplace safety plans. Employers can adopt a model safety plan as crafted by the New York State Department of Labor, or develop their own safety plan in compliance with HERO Act standards.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, ask for and/or follow the protocols provided to you by the studio. Remember that Responsible Party protocols may vary depending on the type of dance activity, how you are engaging in it (as a dancer, as an audience member), and where (size of space, ceiling heights, and airflow of the studios). The protocols of different Responsible Parties (different dance studios) may vary. If you are not comfortable with a Responsible Party’s safety measures or lack thereof, consider discussing this with the Responsible Party, reconsidering your engagement, establishing increased safety measures for you and your group, and/or filing a general or zone-based report.
ARCHIVED: Dance studio visitors/renters, please note how Responsible Parties are determining their industry classification, their ability to reopen, and the complexity of their reopening efforts:
- Those businesses that do not know their 2-6 digit industry number (NAICS number) can determine it here or use the “Search” or “Filter by by Category” function under the Business Category tab of the NYS Industry Lookup Tool here.
- With their NAICS number(s), they can use the NYS Industry Lookup Tool to identify their industry’s open or closed status.
- It is recommended that businesses follow the state reopening guidelines that correspond with their industry classification.
Please note that:
- Organizations that align with multiple industries may have more than one industry classification that is relevant. This may allow them to open certain parts of their business, but not all, which will affect how they phase their reopening. E.g.:
- NAICS 711510 – Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers is currently “operating with restrictions” (as of 01/27/21);
- NAICS 711120 – Dance Company is “currently closed” (as of 01/27/21);
- NAICS 561110 – Office Administrative Services is currently “open for business” (as of 01/27/21);
- NAICS 711310 – Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities is currently “operating with restrictions” (as of 01/27/21);
- NAICS 711320 – Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities is currently “operating with restrictions” (as of 01/27/21); and
- NAICS 711219 – Other Spectator Sports is currently “operating with restrictions” (as of 01/27/21).
- That said, there is no guarantee that an inspector will agree with or use the industry classification(s) that a business selects. If they do not agree, and feel the classification should be under a different industry that is not yet allowed to reopen or has different requirements, the business may be subject to violations and/or closure.
- Beyond the guidance that is associated with the industry, further guidance may be required and may need to be integrated into the business’ reopening plans depending on its business model (e.g. DOE regulations, union regulations, university regulations, office administrative service regulations, etc.)
- No one should reopen or re-engage in their dance activity until they can do so safely with all recommended guidance implemented and integrated into their tailored reopening plans.