Last Updated: 8.25.2021

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as an illness caused by a novel coronavirus now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; formerly called 2019- nCoV), which was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. It was initially reported to the WHO on December 31, 2019. On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global health emergency. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, its first such designation since declaring H1N1 influenza a pandemic in 2009.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Other symptoms may include muscle aches/pains, fatigue, and a decrease in appetite. According to CDC, headache, confusion, rhinorrhea, sore throat, hemoptysis, vomiting, and diarrhea have also been reported, but are less common.

Can COVID-19 be prevented?

You can prevent the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing (staying 6 feet/2 meters away from other people), frequently washing your hands, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

Currently, there are three main types of COVID-19 vaccines that are or soon will be undergoing large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials in the United States. Below is a description of how each type of vaccine prompts our bodies to recognize and protect us from the virus that causes COVID-19. None of these vaccines can give you COVID-19.

  • mRNA vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.
  • Protein subunit vaccines include harmless pieces (proteins) of the virus that cause COVID-19 instead of the entire germ. Once vaccinated, our immune system recognizes that the proteins don’t belong in the body and begins making T-lymphocytes and antibodies. If we are ever infected in the future, memory cells will recognize and fight the virus.
  • Vector vaccines contain a weakened version of a live virus—a different virus than the one that causes COVID-19—that has genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 inserted in it (this is called a viral vector). Once the viral vector is inside our cells, the genetic material gives cells instructions to make a protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Using these instructions, our cells make copies of the protein. This prompts our bodies to build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus if we are infected in the future.

As COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and then recommended for use in the United States, it will be important to understand what is known about each vaccine. Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:

As of March 2, 2021, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for three COVID-19 vaccines in the United States:

  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine​

Starting April 6, all New Yorkers age 16 or older are able to be vaccinated. Eligible New Yorkers can make an appointment at ny.gov/GetVaccinated or by calling the NYS COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

More information on COVID-19 Vaccines can be found here:

However, you can prevent illness and protect your staff and customers from COVID-19.

  • Best practice is to maintain a reasonable social distance (about 6 feet). This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.
  • Ensures that staff will have Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) appropriate for their work in addition to face coverings and gloves.
  • ARCHIVED: Required sign-in of everyone that comes into your workspace. Depending on your company’s size, you can manually or use an APP with the basic requirement being that you are collecting the information and getting a completed health questionnaire from everyone that enters your establishment.
  • ARCHIVED: Your trained staff should also monitor temperature readings of all visitors and staff at any point of entry.
  • Continue to have some staff work remotely.
  • Modified the ventilation system to increase rates or the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system. Intake fans.
  • Consider upgrading AC filters.
  • Create signage and visual cues explaining policies and procedures
  • Monitor state and local public health communications about COVID-19.
  • Communicate information and updates quickly and efficiently
  • Train staff on new policies and health and safety procedures.
  • Implement flexible sick leave policies and practices.
  • Best practice is to consider limiting access to friends and family to your workspace
  • Best practice is to adjust class and rental times to accommodate more cleaning
  • Best practice is to adjust capacities to accommodate social distancing

What masks are not appropriate masks? Can dancers take off their masks?

  • DO NOT USE VALVE MASKS IN DANCE STUDIOS. Valve masks let OUT potentially infectious particles which can spread viruses. N95 and KN95 masks are not recommended for dancers, as they are needed by medical professionals. Keep clean masks in your bag as wet masks are not as effective. Face shields are also effective and can potentially work for those who can’t tolerate masks. There are also mask brackets which sit under your mask and make it easier to breathe.

What do you do if you believe you have COVID-19?

Reference CDC Guidance for the most up-to-date guidance on what to do if you are sick.

What do you do if you have a confirmed case of COVID-19?

Reference CDC Guidance (Section: Positive viral test) for the most up-to-date guidance on what to do if you have a positive test result for COVID-19.

  • If you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, take the following steps to protect others regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status:
    • Isolate at home and isolate away from others for at least 10 days.
    • If you do not have any symptoms, you should still isolate at home for at least 10 days.
    • If you develop symptoms, continue to isolate for at least 10 days after symptoms began as long as symptoms have improved, and no fever is present for at least 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.
    • Most people have mild COVID-19 illness and can recover at home without medical care. 
  • Contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you are more likely to get very sick because of being an older adult or having underlying medical conditions or if your symptoms get worse.
    • Talk to your healthcare provider or local health department to find out how long to isolate if you:
      • Are severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system Had a positive test result followed by a negative result
      • Test positive for many weeks after the initial result

Positive cases should quarantine for 10 days. If the positive case is symptomatic, they should quarantine for 72 hours AFTER the resolution of symptoms to be sure they are healthy. There should be a 14 day rest period after the resolution of symptoms. Anyone exposed to the positive case should stay home until they can be tested and receive a negative. All individuals should have clearance from a doctor to return to the studio after a positive test. 

If there is a positive case who was in the studio recently, and you suspect that the studio contains respiratory droplets, seal the room for 24 hours and then clean the room wearing a surgical mask, goggles, and a face shield. If there is a lot of cross-contact between classes, consider closing the studio for 10 days as well.

What’s the difference between Quarantine and Isolation?


Quarantine – What, who, and when.

  • Members must not be in public or leave their separate living quarters, including a kitchen & bathroom for each or family.
  • Access to a sink with soap, water, and paper towels is necessary.
  • Cleaning supplies (e.g., household cleaning wipes, bleach) must be provided in any shared bathroom.
  • Members must have a way to self-quarantine from household members as soon as fever or other symptoms develop, in a separate room(s) with a different door.
  • Food must be delivered to the person’s quarters.
  • Quarters must have a supply of face masks f
  • Garbage must be bagged and left outside for routine pick up. Special handling is not required.
  • A system for temperature and symptom monitoring – and notifying HR if a member develops a virus

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  • The quarters must be secure against unauthorized access.

Who needs to Quarantine?

  • People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past three months or those that are fully vaccinated.
  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms. People who develop symptoms again within three months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
  • Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria: 
    • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
    • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
    • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

Get Tested

  • Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.
  • If you go to a test site run by New York State, there is never any charge for your test.
  • Suppose you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies, pharmacies, medical practices, or not-for-profit organizations. In that case, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.
  • Your local health department is your community contact for COVID19 concerns.

ARCHIVED: All staff members should get tested before returning to work on-site.

For the most current information on testing and testing sights in NY, go to this link: https://forward.ny.gov/covid-19-testing


  • There are currently no domestic travel restrictions within the US. If you are traveling internationally, refer to COVID-19 guidelines for travel provided by the country you are traveling to. 
    • 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, 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.

What is Contact Tracing?

  • Contact tracing is the process of contacting all people who’ve had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Contact Tracers have been hired and trained to work with state-of-the-art software to gather information on the infection’s spread. Your participation is confidential.

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How does Contact Tracing Work?

  • If someone tests positive, a COVID-19 Contact Tracer will connect you with the support and resources you may need through Quarantine, such as getting groceries or household supplies, childcare, medical care, or supplies. The Tracer will work with you.
  • They identify and reach out via phone and text to anyone you’ve been in contact with while you were infectious to trace and contain the spread of the virus.
  • People who have come in close contact with someone positive are asked to stay home and limit their contact with others. By staying home during this time, IF you become sick yourself, you have not infected many others along the way.
  • Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as a private medical record.
  • The program will operate through the next flu season. It is implemented in coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut.
  • Your caller ID will say “NYS Contact Tracing” (518-387-9993).

How can I protect myself from COVID-19 when outside of the studio/theater?

1. Stay more than 6 feet away from people who do not live with you in your home

2. Avoid touching your face

3. Frequently wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethanol if your hands aren’t soiled

a. Wash hands after returning home from activities outside of the home

b. Wash before handling food

c. Wash after using the restroom

d. Wash after touching your face for any reason

e. Clean hands before and after shopping

4. Clean purchased items with soap and water if possible or disinfect when possible with bleach or alcohol-based solution. Cleaning And Disinfecting Your Home

5. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of tissue in the trash, and then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. If no tissue, sanitizer, or wash area is available then please cough or sneeze into the elbow and avoid contacting the elbow until your shirt can be changed or the elbow can be washed.

6. Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (ie: doorknobs, keyboards, counters, telephones) with an antiseptic cleaner

7. Wear a facemask outside of your home or if you have symptoms of respiratory illness such as cough, runny nose, or shortness of breath

8. Stay home if you are sick and call your healthcare provider for further recommendations

Can employees with COVID-19 file workers’ compensation claims?

Employees may file claims but it will generally be difficult to prove work-relatedness because occupational disease burdens usually exclude diseases to which the general public is exposed. New York has not yet specified whether COVID-19 qualifies as an “occupational disease.” (Source: Lawyers Alliance Return to Work FAQs)

ARCHIVED: How should the studio be cleaned, and how often?

Studios need to be cleaned after each use. During use, central AC should be on to circulate air; fans can also be used but central air is better. Floors should be mopped or swiffered after use, and the room should stand empty and closed for thirty minutes after each group uses it. 

Bathrooms should also be regularly cleaned, ideally after every person uses it. Always put the toilet seat DOWN before flushing. Use paper towels, NO air dryers: they will spread viruses. Wait 30 minutes at least after one person uses the bathroom for another person to use the same bathroom. Keep masks ON in the bathroom, just being alone in the bathroom is not safe enough to take off your mask.

What cleaning supplies are the best?

Products Registered in New York Against COVID-19

EPA Find a Disinfectant tool: List N Tool: COVID-19 Disinfectants | US EPA

EPA List N: Disinfectants for COVID-19 website: List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19) | US EPA

EPA Safe and effective disinfectant use infographic: Six Steps for Safe & Effective Disinfectant Use (PDF)

Recommended Disinfectants:

  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: Effective, EPA-approved, and (usually) easy to find, these presoaked wipes need only four minutes of contact time to neutralize the coronavirus.
  • Lysol Disinfecting Wipes: Another widely sold wipe, these are EPA-approved too, but they take 10 minutes to disinfect.
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray: This non-bleach aerosol spray works in 10 minutes. It’s fabric-safe but guaranteed to eliminate the virus only on hard surfaces.
  • Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist: This aerosol also works in 10 minutes and is fabric-safe, but again, it’s guaranteed to eliminate the virus only on hard surfaces.
  • Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach: This bleach-based cleaner works in one minute but will damage fabrics, and the fumes are harsh.
  • Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach: Another bleach-based cleaner from Clorox, this one works in five minutes, and its fumes are also strong.
  • Lysol Kitchen Pro Antibacterial Cleaner: This spray is based on a non-bleach disinfectant, so it’s safe on fabrics but guaranteed to eliminate the coronavirus only on hard surfaces.
  • Clorox Bleach: Diluted in water, bleach is the key ingredient to a homemade disinfectant that’s as effective as it is noxious. Research how to safely handle and work with bleach if you’re new to this.

My students are “fresh” after a break. Why can’t they get straight back into it?

Research has shown that after being bedridden for even one day, there are effects, such as weakness, that can last up to two weeks. The students have not been bedridden, however, the ability to train at the intensity and skill level is varied. Students have also had minimal incidental exercise and thus are overall deconditioned. Some students may have experienced a growth surge and therefore they will need to readjust their skill and coordination levels slowly.By returning to jumping and high intensity travelling steps without the strength and support required, the students have an increased risk of injury, in particular bony injuries and injuries that can occur near the insertions of tendons, most common in adolescents.

My students have already been jumping in online classes. Why can’t they get straight back into jumping?

The level and intensity of student participation in jumps sections of the online classes is difficult to gauge and therefore, it is recommended that a cautious gradual approach is taken. As we all know, dancers will get straight back into it in the studio at 150% and so ensuring that their technique and strength is up to it is paramount to minimise the risk of injury.

We have new choreography for concert work to be learnt. How can I integrate this in the initial phases?

Many studios have either Term 3 or Term 4 concert preparation work to complete. Generally, when learning choreography these classes may have decreased intensity as more time may be spent understanding the steps and style. Due to these factors, choreography classes can be reintroduced from phase 2 or 3 yet it is recommended that the skill or steps are not beyond the student’s pre-COVID-19 skill level.

My students were due to start pointe work when the studio had to close. When can the student return to pointe work?

Pointe work falls under a new skill in this case and therefore, it is important to not introduce this until the student is at pre-COVID-19 strength and skill level. Each student is different but it will be after approximately 12 weeks of training.

Why are there no set times or repetitions in the guidelines?

Each school and student has a different level, whether it be recreational or pre-professional. However, the principles of regaining strength and skill apply to all and can be adjusted to specifically relate to your school.

My students only participate twice a week, for two hours each session? How do the above guidelines apply?

For recreational dancers who participate in one or two sessions per week, returning to solid technique is especially important in the first 12 weeks. These students are more likely to have lost their coordination, skill level and condition as they are more “recreational”, therefore the guidelines still apply. They may return to their full hours (such as twice a week, two hours each time) from the beginning however, building their jumping and technique gradually and reviewing the basics from Term 1 is important. We recommend the classes initially having more technique, slightly longer rests and conditioning as they build back to their pre-COVID-19 levels. Use the baseline test in class to help students understand their levels of strength and fitness and how they progress over the weeks.

My recreational students do different repertoire during their two hour session in the evening, one hour tap and one hour jazz ballet. Aren’t tap and jazz different and can’t I progress them more quickly?

Yes, tap and jazz are different and the students learn different skills. If both the tap and jazz teacher use the loading principles of returning to the basics of the prior term, solidifying these skills and gradually building the numbers of repetitions in an exercise, then the students will steadily progress in each individual class without their bodies being overloaded.

My students have lost flexibility and I want to increase their flexibility. What can we do?

During the first six weeks we recommend minimal “stretching sessions” for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the students may have had a growth surge and may have lost some flexibility as their muscles catch up with their bones, secondly stretching inhibits the ability for muscles to produce strength and power. We know that many of our students will have lost condition and it is important for the body to regain strength and neuromuscular control to support the joints and proprioception (coordination) when they first return to the studio.

If you are wanting to introduce stretching, we recommend that you do this at the end of the day and not prior to a class as the effects of stretching can impact their ability to complete their classes and may increase their risk of injury. Research is now showing that mobility and flexibility can be achieved through strength and this is such an important factor when returning to the studio.

ARCHIVED: Where can I find industry specific guidance from the NYS Department of Health covering my activities? 

ARCHIVED: How can I find out if I am allowed to operate during the COVID-19 emergency and what restrictions apply? 

Use the New York State Business Reopening App https://www.businessexpress.ny.gov/app/nyforward to find out if you can operate and to learn about restrictions on operations. To use the Business Reopening App, it helps to know your North American Industry Classification System(NAICS) code.NAICS codes applicable to music production, musical performances, and music venues include: 

NAICS Code NAICS Title Link to Description
711130  Musical Groups and Artists (example: bands, singers, and orchestras)  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=711130 
711110  Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters (example:musical theater companies)  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=711110
711510  Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers(example:independent recording technicians)  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=711510 
512240  Sound Recording Studios https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=512240
512110  Motion Picture and Video Production (example:music video production)  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=512110 
531120  Lessors of Nonresidential Buildings (example: concert hall rental)  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=531120
711310  Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events with Facilities (example: concert hall operators)  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=711310
711320  Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events without Facilities (example: concert organizers) https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=711320
722410  Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=722410
722511  Full-Service Restaurants  https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=722511
611610  Fine Arts Schools https://www.naics.com/naics-codedescription/?code=611610

ARCHIVED: Do I have to tell New York State that I am reopening? 

You must submit an affirmation to the State that affirms that you have read applicable State guidance and understand the obligation to operate in compliance with State requirements, including the requirement that your business develop and conspicuously post a COVID-19 Safety Plan. 

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