Last Updated: 4.5.2021
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:
- Operator/Employer Plans
Performance venue 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 the venue; the very nature of visiting and using a performance 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.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that beginning April 2, event, arts and entertainment venues can reopen at 33 percent capacity, up to 100 people indoors and up to 200 people outdoors. If all attendees present proof of negative test prior to entry, capacity can increase up to 150 people indoors and up to 500 people outdoors. Social distancing and face coverings will be required by all attendees, as well as strict adherence to all applicable Department of Health guidance. Read more about the announcement here.
- 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.
Performance venue 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 are spaced-out class, rehearsal, and performance times to allow for adequate cleaning and disinfection of the floor.
Performance venue visitors/renters who are dancers, arrive with dance clothes or costumes on or under street clothes to avoid communal gathering in dressing rooms, locker rooms, and bathrooms.
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
Performance venue 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.
Performance venue visitors/renters, be aware that New York State expects each studio, theater, and/or performing arts space is expected 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.
Performance venue 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.
Performance venue 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.
The following are recommendations for performance venue 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 and independently enforce for yourself or others in your group.
- If you are performing, 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
Performance venue visitors/renters, consider the following when traveling to and from the performance venue:
- 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 choose your travel time to avoid peak transit hours.
Performance venue 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 aircraft 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.
- If you have traveled internationally, you must quarantine for 14 days.
Air Handling Systems
Performance venue 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. Being in an enclosed space with others for longer than 10 min increases the chances of exposure and infection.
- Acceptable face coverings are required in all indoor public gathering spaces unless otherwise specifically excused by necessity (drinking water) or work requirements (performing).
- Acceptable face coverings should be worn in all indoor public spaces even if you are alone, as someone could enter the space.
Hygiene, Cleaning & Disinfection
Performance venue 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:
If you are a performance venue 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 your 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.
Performance venue visitors/renters, consider asking the venue to clearly and accessibly communicate COVID-19 information and reopening protocols, whether 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 (eg. 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 straight to the person and not their companion.
If you are a performance venue visitor/renter concerned about allergic or anaphylactic reactions, contact the dance studio to learn what cleaning and disinfectant products they are using.
Screening & Testing
Performance venue 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
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.
If you are a performance venue visitor/renter, please consider getting a health screening before attending any indoor or outdoor activities/gatherings.
If you are a performance venue 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:
Performance venue 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 consistently 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.
Performance venue 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.
Performance venue 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.
Tracing & Tracking
Performance venue 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 the alert and shall follow any protocol provided.
- The best practice would be to self-quarantine for 14 days after learning of your potential exposure.
Performance venue 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 venue within the past 14 days:
- 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.
- 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 venue 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 venue following:
- At least 10 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 10 days of isolation since the date the infected individual 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), your healthcare provider may recommend that you stay in isolation for longer than 10 days after your symptoms first appeared (possibly up to 20 days) and you may need to finish your period of isolation at home. If testing is available in your community, your healthcare provider may recommend that you undergo repeat testing for COVID-19 to end your isolation earlier than would be done according to the criteria above. If so, you can be around others after you receive two (2) negative tests results in a row, from tests done at least 24 hours apart.
- You only undergo repeat testing at the recommendation of your 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
Performance venue visitors/renters, ask for and/or follow the protocols provided to you by the performance venue. 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, airflow, and fixed or flexible seating within the performance venue). The protocols of different Responsible Parties (different performance venues) 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.
Performance venue 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 two- to six- (2- to 6-) digit industry number (NAICS number) can determine it here or use the “Search” or “Filter 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 relevant industry classification. 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.