Standard Recommendations

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.

Control+F, or Command+F on a Mac, is the keyboard shortcut for the Find command. Please use this to quickly search for key words in this document. 

Table of Contents

  1. People
  2. Places
  3. Processes
  4. Operator/Employer Plans

If you do not have time to read through the entire Standard Recommendations, we suggest looking through the General Summary

1. PEOPLE

Classification

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Sports & Recreation Guidance”)

The ability to participate in dance activities is determined by a combination of the risk for COVID-19 transmission (1) inherent in the dance activity itself and (2) associated with the “type of dance” (e.g. individual practice vs. group under 10 people vs. group over 10 people).

Dance activities can be categorized as “lower risk,” “moderate risk,” and “higher risk.”

  • Lower risk dance activities are characterized by: Greatest ability to maintain physical distance and/or be performed individually; and greatest ability to: (1) avoid touching of shared equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.), (2) clean and disinfect any equipment between uses by different individuals, or (3) not use shared equipment at all.
    • Examples: Solo work, solo teaching, and other activities with similar abilities to maintain physical distance and/or limit exposure to shared equipment prior to such equipment being cleaned and disinfected, etc.
  • Moderate risk dance activities are characterized by: Limited ability to maintain physical distance and/or be done individually; and limited ability to: (1) avoid touching of shared equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.), (2) clean and disinfect equipment between uses by different individuals, or (3) not use shared equipment at all.
    • Examples: Contactless dance training; duet, trio, and small group rehearsals (under 10 people); other activities with similar abilities to maintain physical distance and/or limit exposure to shared equipment prior to such equipment being cleaned and disinfected, etc.
  • Higher risk dance activities are characterized by: Least ability to maintain physical distance and/or be done individually; and least ability to: (1) avoid touching of shared equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.), (2) clean and disinfect equipment between uses by different individuals, or (3) not use shared equipment at all.
  • Examples: Contact improvisation, dance partnering, close-formation spacing, large (over 10 people) group dance training and rehearsals, and other activities with similar abilities to maintain physical distance and/or limit exposure to shared equipment prior to such equipment being cleaned and disinfected. 

The “type of dance” risk can be generally defined by the following spectrum from least to greatest risk:

  • Individual or distanced group activities (e.g. solo, duet, or trio training and rehearsals)
  • Organized no/low-contact group activities for specific, consistent groups (e.g. professional dance company rehearsals, training for pods of dance students, etc.)
  • Organized no/low-contact group activities for public groups (e.g. independent rehearsals, auditions, public dance training, etc.)
  • Local performances and/or showings (e.g. any group activity like fully produced shows, informal shows, open rehearsals, practice sessions, dance battles, dance jams, socials, etc. with or without live audiences)
  • Touring engagements of multiple performances and/or showings, requiring travel (e.g. regional, national, or international performance runs and tours of any group activity like fully produced shows, informal shows, open rehearsals, practice sessions, dance battles, dance jams, socials, etc. with or without live audiences).

New York’s Cluster Action Initiative

Before proceeding with any dance activity, determine whether your business enterprise or activity is subject to a workforce reduction under Executive Order 202.68, which directs the Department of Health to determine areas in the State that require enhanced public health restrictions based upon cluster-based cases of COVID-19 at a level that compromises the State’s containment of the virus. Certain activities shall be restricted and any permitted activities, in the three (3) zones (Red, Orange, Yellow) described here, shall be conducted in strict adherence to Department of Health guidance. For full details, please see Empire State Development’s Guidance. Related to New York’s Cluster Action Initiative. Where permitted to operate within the cluster action initiative, businesses and other entities must continue to follow the relevant industry-specific guidelines provided by the Department of Health as available on the New York Forward website for their applicable operations and activities.

Physical Distancing

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance,” & “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” “Media Production Guidance” & “Office-Based Work Guidance”)

Per the guidance on Group Fitness Classes as of March 22,Responsible Parties must ensure that capacity within the studio, theater, or performing arts center in which dance activity is being implemented is limited to no more than 3325% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy at any given time, inclusive of employees and patrons, both of whom must only be permitted entry if they:

  • Wear an acceptable face covering at all times, provided that the employee or patron is over the age of two (2) and able to medically tolerate such covering.
    • Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks appropriate for exercise that cover both the mouth and nose. Bandanas, buffs, masks with vents, or gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for dancers’ use in studios, theaters, or performing arts centers.
    • For individuals who are unable to medically tolerate an acceptable face covering, Responsible Parties must ensure that such individuals wear a face shield at all times. However, the CDC “does not currently recommend use of face shields as a [sufficient] substitute for masks.”
  • Complete and pass a health screening, as described below in Section “Processes,” Subsection: “Screening and Testing”.
  • Sign in upon entering the facility (or prior via remote check-in), providing their full name, address, and phone number for use in contact tracing efforts.
    • The sign-in process may be conducted through any means that the Responsible Parties establish to collect the above contact information, including, but not limited to, a digital application, barcode reader, swipe card reader, and/or paper form.
    • Responsible Parties must maintain a record of the aforementioned sign-in data for a minimum period of 28 days and make such data available to state and local health departments upon request.

For office-based work or non-dance activity in a studio, theater, or performing arts center, the total number of occupants is limited to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy at any given time for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy. Where applicable, Responsible Parties should work with building owners/managers to maintain capacity limits.

  • Responsible Parties may modify or reconfigure the use and/or restrict the number of workstations, employee seating areas, and desks, so that employees are at least six (6) feet apart in all directions (e.g. side to side and when facing one another) and are not sharing workstations without cleaning and disinfection between use.
    • Responsible Parties should mark six (6) feet distance circles around workstations and other common stationary work areas.
    • When distancing is not feasible between workstations, Responsible Parties must provide and require the use of face coverings or physical barriers (e.g. plastic shielding walls, in lieu of face coverings in areas where they would not affect air flow, heating, cooling or ventilation).
      • Physical barriers should be put in place in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
      • Physical barrier options may include: strip curtains, cubicle walls, plexiglass or similar materials, or other impermeable dividers or partitions.
  • Responsible Parties should consider implementing strict clean-desk policies, so that non-essential items are stored in enclosed cabinets or drawers, rather than on desks.
  • Responsible Parties should limit the use of shared workstations (e.g. “hot-desks”), to the extent practicable. To the extent that such workstations remain in use, they must be cleaned and disinfected between users.

Responsible Parties should prohibit the use of small spaces (e.g. storage closets, equipment checkout areas) by more than one (1) individual at a time, unless all employees in such space at the same time are wearing acceptable face coverings. However, even with face coverings in use, occupancy must not exceed 25% of the maximum capacity of the space, unless it is designed for use by a single occupant.

Responsible Parties must ensure that a distance of at least six (6) feet is maintained among individuals, including employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, at all times, unless safety or the core activity requires a shorter distance (e.g. moving equipment, using an elevator, attending to a medical emergency). The core activity does NOT apply to exercise or dance activity, which must always allow for at least six (6) feet of distance between individuals, with 8–-12 feet recommended when dance activity occurs within a confined space.

  • Responsible Parties should discourage dance activity that requires individuals being within eight (8) feet of each other. However, if those activities occur, all parties should be wearing a face covering and should be members of the same household or have been pre-screened and certified as a member of a pod or bubble (See Glossary for definitions of Pod, Bubble, and Cohort). These near-contact dance activities must be conducted within the least amount of time possible (i.e., no lingering or socializing).

Responsible Parties should further consider these physical- distancing scenarios as dependent on the type of dance activity:

  • At least eight (8) feet (10 feet is preferable) of distance between dancers who are side -by -side and at least 10 (12 feet is preferable) feet of distance between those dancers who are in front and/or behind when taping off dance areas in a studio, a theater, and/or performing arts centers.
    • Note: Ailey’s plans and space is functioning with nine (9) feet minimum side to side and twelve (12) feet between rows of people and the teacher.
  • At least 12 feet of distance between any dance teacher/instructor/faculty and the closest individual.
  • At least 12 feet of distance between the perimeter of any dance activity area and the closest audience member.
  • At least six (6) feet of distance in all directions between all audience members.
  • At least six (6) feet of distance in all directions between musicians whothat do not require their breath to play instruments or perform.
  • In an instance where musicians’ performance space is not sectioned off or partitioned, musicians should maintain at least 12 feet of social distance between them and the closest audience member.
  • At least 25 feet of distance between any live singer and the closest audience member.

Responsible Parties must ensure that employees at check-in or appointment desks maintain six (6)six feet from other employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, unless there is a physical barrier between the employee and other individual(s). Any time employees interact with patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members (e.g. operating appointment desks), they must wear acceptable face coverings.

  • Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks appropriate for exercise that cover both the mouth and nose. Bandanas, buffs, masks with vents, or gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for dancers’ use in studios, theaters, or performing arts centers.
  • However, cloth, disposable, or other homemade face coverings are not acceptable face coverings for workplace activities that typically require a higher degree of protection for personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the nature of the work. For those activities, N95 respirators or other PPE used under existing industry standards should continue to be used, in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
  • If used, physical barriers should be put in place in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
  • Physical barrier options may include: strip curtains, plexiglass or similar materials, or other impermeable dividers or partitions.

Responsible Parties should modify layouts so that individuals are at least six (6)six feet apart in all directions, to the greatest extent possible, and at least eight (8) feet apart (10 feet preferable) when engaging in dance activity such as dance training, rehearsals, performances, or other dance activities.

  • Responsible Parties must ensure that employees use face coverings when interacting with patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, regardless of physical distance.
  • Responsible Parties must reserve adequate space for employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members to move within the facility or area, considering appropriate social distancing; this may include, but is not limited to, creating one-way lines, rearranging traffic flow, or otherwise using alternating cash registers/appointment desks.
  • Responsible Parties must still maintain ADA compliance within their space modifications and must publicly communicate any changes or adjustments to accessibility measures within the space.

Responsible Parties must modify the use of, reorganize, and/or restrict the capacity per studio and theater, along with access to related equipment, including dance floors (e.g. barres, mats, chairs, etc.), so that individuals are at least eight (8) feet apart (10 feet preferable) in all directions (e.g. side -to -side and when facing one another) at all times.

In the event of a live performance or showing (e.g. any group activity like fully produced shows, informal shows, open rehearsals, practice sessions, dance battles, dance jams, socials, etc. with or without live audiences), the Responsible Party must:

  • If operating outdoors under Open Culture: follow the NYC Open Culture Guidelines to obtain a permit and implement a single day, socially distanced performances at over 100 street locations throughout all five boroughs.
  • If operating indoors: 
    • Limit audience capacity to the amount necessary to ensure no more than 25% of the maximum occupancy for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy at any given time, inclusive of employees, dancers, performers, patrons, audience members, etc. 
    • Ensure the audience seating arrangement allows for individuals to be at least six (6) feet apart in all directions (e.g. side to side and when facing one another) at all times.
    • Ensure that the perimeter of the performance space is at least 12 feet away from the closest audience members.
    • Ensure the minimum distance for any live music performers (12 feet in all directions for live musicians / six (6) feet if partitioned; 25 feet from the audience for live vocalists).
    • Maintain eight (8) feet (10-12 feet preferable) among dancers, unless for short periods of performance while masked.

Responsible Parties must prohibit guests/spectators on site, unless they are accompanying a youth under the age of 18, in which no more than two (2) guests/spectators are permitted, or attending a live performance/showing within space capacity allowances.

When distancing is not feasible in non-dance activity locations (e.g. reception desks), Responsible Parties should erect barriers (e.g. plastic shielding walls) in areas where they would not affect air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation, or present a health or safety risk.

  • If used, physical barriers should be put in place in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
  • Physical barrier options may include strip curtains, cubicles, plexiglass or similar materials, or other impermeable dividers or partitions.

Responsible Parties should implement contactless payment options or pay ahead or reserve options to be used by patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, when available. Responsible Parties should minimize handling cash, credit cards, reward cards, and mobile devices, when possible.

Responsible Parties must ensure individuals are not sharing equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.), without cleaning and disinfection between use.

Responsible Parties must post signage and distance markers denoting spaces of six (6) feet in all commonly used areas indoors for employees, and any areas in which lines are commonly formed or people may congregate (e.g. clock in/out stations, health-screening stations, break rooms, equipment checkout areas, cash register areas, locker rooms, etc.).

Responsible Parties must provide distance markers or taped-off areas in studios and theaters denoting spaces of at least eight (8) feet apart (10 feet preferable) for dancers engaged in dance activity (e.g. training, teaching, rehearsing, or performing).

Responsible Parties must post signs throughout the studio, theater, or performing arts center, consistent with DOH COVID-19 signage. Responsible Parties can develop their own customized signage specific to a workplace or setting, provided that such signage is consistent with the Department’s signage. Signage should be used to remind individuals to:

  • Stay home if they are feeling sick.
  • Cover their nose and mouth with a face covering at all times, except while eating, drinking, or in an aquatic setting (e.g. pools, showers).
  • Quarantine if they have recently been in a state with significant community transmission of COVID-19, pursuant to the DOH travel advisory.
    • Beginning April 1, domestic travelers will no longer be required to quarantine after entering New York from another U.S. State or U.S. Territory. Mandatory quarantine remains in effect for international travelers. Read more about Governor Cuomo’s March 11 announcement here.
      • As per the Gyms and Fitness Center Guidelines, screenings must ask if an individual has traveled within a state with significant community spread of COVID-19 for longer than 24 hours within the past 14 days. 
    • Please review New York’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory as these rules and regulations change frequently and vary based on where travel is to/from.
      • On “testing out”of quarantine: If someone travels and gets a clear PCR test (NOT a rapid test) and can get the results within 3 days (while quarantining), then they may re-enter the dance venue before the 14-day period. The same goes for people with “potential exposures” – but they would need to wait out the 3-5 day incubation period before getting tested.
      • However, if someone has a known positive covid test, they must absolutely have to wait the full 14 days of quarantine, and then must be fever free with no symptoms, for at least 72 hours.
  • Properly store, clean, and, when necessary, discard PPE.
  • Adhere to physical distancing instructions.
  • Report symptoms of or exposure to COVID-19, and how they should do so.
  • Follow hand hygiene and cleaning and disinfection guidelines.
  • Follow appropriate respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.
  • Wipe down equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live- stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.) with disinfectant wipes before and after usage.

For audience members, the following additional safety measures apply:

  • Responsible Parties must ensure audience members maintain six (6)six feet of physical distance between individuals and/or family/household units and wear face coverings at all times, so long as they are over the age of two (2) and medically able to tolerate such covering.
  • Responsible Parties may facilitate appropriate distancing through the use of markings on the ground or seating areas, and other signage.
  • Responsible Parties must ensure that, among all audiences, no individual group exceeds the gathering limit that is currently in place for the region.
  • Responsible Parties may facilitate appropriate audience gathering size through the use of signage and/or staff to ensure groups are aware of and adhere to guidelines.

For media production and/or documentation of dance activity in a studio, theater, or performing arts center, Responsible Parties must ensure that all employees, cast, and crew in close proximity dancers without face coverings (e.g. hair stylists, make-up artists, costume designers, sound technicians, studio teachers, stunt coordinators, special effects technicians) wear both an acceptable face covering and eye protection, such as a face shield or goggles, for the duration of the activity requiring proximity. All employees, cast, and crew should also wear gloves or practice hand hygiene before and after such activities.

  • Responsible Parties should consider having dancers, including any extras, arrive “camera ready,” to the extent possible (e.g. having completed hair, makeup, and wardrobe off site or through remote instruction).
  • Responsible parties should limit in-person presence to only those staff who are necessary for relevant media production activities.
  • Responsible Parties should consider taking measures to reduce close or proximate contact between dancers, such as amending scripts or using digital effects where possible.
  • Where possible, Responsible Parties should limit scenes with prolonged close or proximate contact between individuals (e.g. near-contact dancing).
  • Responsible Parties should refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Media Production During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” for full media production protocols.

Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance” & “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance”)

Responsible Parties may implement best practices for studio, theater, and performing arts center spaces including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Follow proper occupancy rules in the region in which the studio, theater, or performing arts center is located.
  • Stagger studio/theater occupancy times with enough time between each user for air to recirculate. Consider an interim cleaning and air circulation period of at least 30 minutes.
  • Consider cohort, pod, or ‘bubble’-style activities (for dance companies, renters, class takers, etc.)
    • A cohort is a group of select individuals within a larger group of individuals who are kept together to engage in their activity through scheduling measures that promote consistent separation of one cohort from another and therefore control interaction. Cohort models work well within large facilities (eg. studios, theaters, and/or performing arts centers) frequented by the public, at universities and educational institutions managing student bodies, etc. 
    • A COVID-19 bubble is a group of select individuals who you can interact with mask-free due to established rules (eg. living together, no interaction with anyone outside of your bubble, etc.), medical protocols, tests and vigilance. A presiding authority is required to decide what the rules, protocols, and vigilance measures should be for your bubble.
    • A pod is a group of select individuals who you interact with on a regular basis, typically with masks and social distancing. It’s recommended that a pod collectively establish rules (testing requirements, no interaction with anyone outside of your pod, etc.) in order to be effective and promote safety. 
  • Consider a hybrid (remote and in-person) model of any and all dance activity to further promote limited on-site engagement and access opportunities for those who do not feel safe returning on-site.
  • Adjust indoor, on-site dance activity:
    • For stationary center work, dancers should be able to maintain at least eight (8) feet of distance apart (10 feet preferable); teachers should remain at least 10 feet (12 feet preferable) from students. This social distancing demarcation can be accomplished by taping off boxes or circles, or using social distance marker stickers on the floor.
    • Normal breathing should be encouraged while dancing in masks, as opposed to forced breath cues, which can spread larger droplets further distances.
    • Dancers must be able to maintain a minimum of eight (8) feet (10 feet preferable) of social distance when traveling across the floor. They should also avoid following right behind each other; it is safer to work next to each other.
    • Alter choreography, whenever possible, to avoid physical contact, close spacing, floorwork, and traveling across the floor. If floorwork is necessary, notify the studio, theater, or performing arts center to ensure that they have adequate time to clean and disinfect the floor before and after use.
    • Choreograph for and set choreography on double, small casts to promote small-cohort rehearsing and security, should a dancer get sick.
    • Lower the intensity of their activities. Higher breathing rates may necessitate more than eight (8) feet between dancers. 
  • Take additional safety measures when engaging in indoor, on-site dance activity:
    • Open windows and doors of the studio/theater to maximize improved air circulation.
    • Create a space for performers to place bags so that social distancing can be maintained among belongings. These areas need to be cleaned after each dancer removes their bag.
    • Be wary of shoes in the space, as shoes and other ground-touching equipment can be a transmitter of disease.
      • Street shoes should be removed prior to entering any studios, theaters, or performing arts center spaces.
      • Dance shoes should not be worn outside the studio. 
      • Studios with wheelchair users should have dance floors cleaned after use, i.e., prior to use by another party.
    • Use free-standing barres when possible, or tape off eight (8) feet (10 feet preferable) of distance on installed barres in the studio/theater.
    • Use voice amplification technology and/or microphones to reduce vocal effort (less droplet spread).
    • Lower music volume in dance classes to reduce the need for teachers to yell/speak at higher volumes that require more effort.
    • Live musicians should be assigned to a consistent studio whenever possible.
    • Clean shared instruments between users.
    • No live singing, brass, or wind instruments are to be permitted.

Responsible Parties must limit in-person employee gatherings (e.g. staff meetings, in break rooms, in stock rooms) to the greatest extent possible, and consider use of other methods such as video or teleconferencing whenever possible, per CDC guidance “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).”. When videoconferencing or teleconferencing is not possible, Responsible Parties should hold meetings in open, well-ventilated spaces and ensure that individuals maintain six (6)six feet of social distance between one another (e.g. if there are chairs, leave space between chairs, have employees sit in alternating chairs).

Responsible Parties must put in place practices for adequate social distancing in small areas, such as locker rooms, restrooms, and break rooms, and should develop signage and systems (e.g. flagging when occupied) to restrict occupancy when social distancing cannot be maintained in such areas.

Responsible Parties must close any communal showers. Individual showers may remain open, provided that Responsible Parties ensure they are cleaned and disinfected between each user.

Responsible Parties may implement best practices for communal bathrooms including but not limited to:

  • Installation of physical barriers between toilets and sinks, if six (6)six feet of separation is not feasible.; and
  • Use of touchless soap and paper towel dispensers.
  • Signage promoting mask use within restrooms, as the flushing of toilets causes the COVID-19 viral load to accumulate in the air.

To the extent practicable, Responsible Parties should consider staggering the schedule for patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members to utilize facilities.

To the extent practicable, Responsible Parties should stagger schedules for employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members to observe social distancing (i.e., six (6)six feet of space) for any gathering (e.g. coffee breaks, meals, and shift or space booking starts/stops, performances, rehearsal, etc.).

On-Site Activity

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance,” & “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” & “Media Production Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” & “Office-Based Work Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must coordinate with their local health department to schedule an inspection of the facility before, or within 14 days after, opening. Local health departments shall inspect the facility to ensure compliance.

Responsible Parties should implement and encourage the use of appointments, reservations, and/or remote check-ins, particularly for rental, training, and performance operations, as a method for ensuring compliance with occupancy restrictions. 

Responsible Parties should implement specific visit times when issuing reservation confirmations (e.g. timed entrances and exits) for patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members to stagger arrivals and departures and to avoid crowding. 

Responsible Parties may choose to implement “shifts” in which individuals sign up for designated times to train or rehearse, so as to create cohorts that remain consistent (i.e., the same set of people train or rehearse together each time). See Glossary for definitions of Cohort, Pod, and Bubble.

Responsible Parties must ensure that individuals, including the instructor(s), dancers, patrons, and any audience members maintain at least six (6) feet of distance between one another at all times, and that face coverings are worn consistent with the abovementioned requirements. When within a confined space in which dance activity is underway, dancers should maintain a recommended eight (8) feet (10 feet preferable) of distance between one another.

Responsible Parties must monitor and control the flow of traffic into the facility or area to ensure adherence to maximum capacity requirements.

Responsible Parties must ensure that any equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.) is cleaned and disinfected between use by different individuals. 

  • Most vinyl dance flooring cannot be cleaned with bleach solutions. Ammonia-based or PH-neutral cleaners that are generally used do not disinfect properly for COVID-19.
    • It is recommended that once a day the floors should be cleaned as usual, followed by cleaning with 90+ alcohol in a sprayer to spread the solution. The mop pad should be washed with bleach in the washing machine between uses. 
    • Disinfecting the floors with this alcohol solution should ideally happen prior to every class or rehearsal. 
      • Other CDC floor cleaners approved to kill COVID-19 include the following:
        • Harlequin approved disinfectant (Marley) (EPA# 10324-167)
        • Stage Step: ProClean D Plus (Marley) (EPA#1839-95)
        • BONA: STA Disinfecting Cleaner (Wood) (EPA# 91861-2)

Responsible Parties should encourage patrons and dancers to bring their own personal equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.) with their name labeled on such equipment, and refrain from handling another patron’s equipment.

Responsible Parties should adjust hours of operation as necessary to enable enhanced cleaning procedures, per DOH guidance, “COVID-19: General Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting for Non-Health Care Settings.

Responsible Parties must prohibit higher-risk activities where physical contact cannot be continuously avoided (e.g. contact improvisation, dance partnering, close formation spacing, etc.), and should discourage hands-on adjustments in classes, unless necessary to mitigate a health or safety risk.

Responsible Parties must close amenities, where applicable, including:

  • locker rooms and dressing rooms (unless limited access and adhering to social distancing guidelines is feasible),
  • communal showers, 
  • common seating areas within the studios, theater, or performing arts center (e.g. couches near reception desks), and
  • water fountains (however, hands-free, contactless water bottle refill stations may remain open).

Responsible Parties must take measures to reduce interpersonal contact and congregation, through methods such as:

  • limiting in-person presence to only necessary staff
  • adjusting workplace hours, 
  • encouraging use of outdoor spaces, where possible,
  • reducing on-site workforce to accommodate social distancing guidelines,
  • batching activities, where possible, so employees can adhere to social distancing,
  • developing protocols for the safe use of common office equipment such as telephones, copiers, printers, registers, etc.,
  • shifting design (e.g. A/B teams, staggered arrival and departure times),
  • reminding dancers to reserve their class and rehearsal times in advance and clarifying a set arrival time (e.g. 10-15 minutes prior to start time) to reduce on-site lingering,
  • implementing sign-up policies so dancers can train and rehearse during consistent, specific times to encourage cohorting, and/or
  • banning the use of shared equipment without proper cleaning and disinfection between use and close equipment storage.

For office-based work and any other non-dance activity within a studio, theater, or performing arts center, the total number of occupants is limited to no more than 50% of the maximum occupancy at any given time for a particular area as set by the certificate of occupancy. Where applicable, Responsible Parties should work with building owners/managers to maintain capacity limits.

  • Responsible Parties may modify or reconfigure the use and/or restrict the number of workstations, employee seating areas, and desks, so that employees are at least six (6) feet apart in all directions (e.g. side to side and when facing one another) and are not sharing workstations without cleaning and disinfection between use.
    • Responsible Parties should mark six (6) feet distance circles around workstations and other common stationary work areas.
    • When distancing is not feasible between workstations, Responsible Parties must provide and require the use of face coverings or physical barriers (e.g. plastic shielding walls, in lieu of face coverings, in areas where they would not affect air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation).
      • Physical barriers should be put in place in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
      • Physical barrier options may include: strip curtains, cubicle walls, plexiglass or similar materials, or other impermeable dividers or partitions.
  •  
  • Responsible Parties should consider implementing strict clean-desk policies, so that non-essential items are stored in enclosed cabinets or drawers, rather than on desks.
  • Responsible Parties should limit the use of shared workstations (e.g. “hot-desks”), to the extent practicable. To the extent that such workstations remain in use, they must be cleaned and disinfected between users.
  • If required, employees that don’t need to be in the office may be allowed to collect documents from their place of work on a case-by-case basis, but such collection should occur minimally, not with frequency.

For dance classes and rehearsals (e.g. any group activity like practice sessions, dance battles, dance jams, socials, etc.) that involve group interaction:

  • Responsible Parties should review and consider the best practices for dance studio and theater spaces as noted in Section “People,” Subsection: “Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces.” 
  • Responsible Parties are encouraged, but not required to conduct such activities outdoors, to the extent practicable, and to follow the NYC Open Culture Guidelines, if relevant.
  • Responsible Parties must use appointments, reservations, remote check-ins, and/or advance sign-ups for the activity and space. 
  • Responsible Parties should discourage sharing of equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.) among patrons/dancers, unless it is able to be cleaned and disinfected between use.
  • Responsible Parties should ensure patrons/dancers interact only with their party within their assigned studio or theater space (i.e., no commingling of parties).
  • Responsible Parties should discourage employees and patrons/dancers/teachers from hand-to hand contact, unless it is part of the dance activity (e.g. handshakes, high-fives, fist bumps, hugs), and should discourage hands-on adjustments in dance classes and rehearsals, unless necessary to mitigate a health or safety risk.
  • Responsible Parties must limit the number of participants in dance classes and rehearsals (e.g. any group activity like practice sessions, dance battles, dance jams, socials, etc. with or without live audiences) to the lesser of:
    • the number of individuals that the space can accommodate such that there is a minimum distance of eight (8) feet (10 feet preferable) between individuals participating in dance activity at all times,
    • 33% of the typical capacity, or
    • the number of individuals permitted by the State’s social gathering limit for the region in which the studio, theater, or performing arts center is located.

For dance performances (e.g. any group activity like fully produced shows, informal shows, open rehearsals, etc. with or without live audiences) that involve group interaction:

  • Responsible Parties should review and consider the best practices for dance studio and theater spaces as noted in Section “People,” Subsection: “Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces.” 
  • Responsible Parties are encouraged, but not required to conduct such activities outdoors, to the extent practicable, and to follow the NYC Open Culture Guidelines, if relevant.
  • Responsible Parties must use appointments, reservations, remote check-ins, and/or advance sign-ups for the activity and space. 
  • Responsible Parties should discourage sharing of equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.) among patrons/dancers, unless it is able to be cleaned and disinfected between use.
  • Responsible Parties should ensure patrons/dancers interact only with their party within their assigned studio or theater space (i.e., no commingling of parties).
  • Responsible Parties should discourage employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members from hand-to hand contact, unless it is part of the dance activity (e.g. handshakes, high-fives, fist bumps, hugs), and should discourage hands-on adjustments in dance classes and rehearsals, unless necessary to mitigate a health or safety risk.
  • Consult the CDC’s “Considerations for Youth Sports” guidance.
  • Responsible Parties must limit the number of participants in performances to the lesser of:
    • the number of individuals that the space can accommodate such that there is a minimum distance of eight (8) feet (10 feet preferable) between individuals participating in dance activity at all times,
    • 33% of the typical capacity, or
    • the number of individuals permitted by the State’s social gathering limit for the region in which the studio, theater, or performing arts center is located.

Further, Responsible Parties of dance classes, rehearsals, and performances (e.g. any group activity like fully produced shows, informal shows, open rehearsals, practice sessions, dance battles, dance jams, socials, etc. with or without live audiences) may consider these additional safety measures:

  • Demarcate physical arrangements within the space to ensure social distance is maintained (e.g. floor taping).
  • Alter choreography to limit interpersonal contact.
  • Double cast repertory to build in safety measures should a dancer contract COVID-19 or experience related symptoms.
  • Lower the intensity of dance activity to promote normal breathing, lower air turbulence, and lessen droplet spread whenever possible. see
  • Phase in dance activity to rebuild strength, endurance, and comfort with safety measures (e.g. dancing in masks) before reintroducing complex skills and training.
  • Use voice amplification technology to reduce vocal effort, which lessens droplet spread.
  • Reduce music volume during classes so that teachers can be heard without speaking at higher volumes, therefore lessening droplet spread.
  • Incorporate the use of live musicians only when consistent space assignments, regular cleaning of instruments and/or sound equipment, and low music volume is possible. See FAQ’s for COVID-19 Reopening in NYC: Group Music Activities for more information;
  • Implement “shifts” in which individuals sign up for designated times to attend classes and rehearsal, creating cohorts that remain consistent (i.e., the same set of people train or rehearse together each time). See Glossary for definitions of Cohort, Pod, and Bubble.
  • Reduce interpersonal contact and congregation by “blocking off” operating times to allow for enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and/or implementing “sign-up” policies, so patrons/dancers visit only during their allotted time.
  • Close locker rooms to discourage commingling pre- and post- class, rehearsal, and/or performance activities.
  • Impose reasonable limits on rentals of facility-owned equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.).
  • Encourage dancers and visitors/renters to bring and use their own equipment (e.g. mats).

For media production and/or documentation of dance activity in a studio, theater, or performing arts center, Responsible Parties should encourage the use of dedicated work zones within the facility or location and establish a system that prevents overlapping the media teams and other patrons/dancers/teacher/audience members not directly involved in the shoot.

    • Review the best practices for dance studio and theater spaces as noted in Section “People,” Subsection: “Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces.” 
    • Consider a color-coded system or other visible indicators to facilitate identification of zones and appropriate employees, cast, and crew.
    • Responsible Parties should consider having dancers, including any extras, arrive “camera ready,” to the extent possible (e.g. having completed hair, makeup, and wardrobe off site or through remote instruction).
    • Responsible Parties should refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Media Production During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” for full media production protocols.

For dance training or teaching at studios, theaters, or performing arts centers, Responsible Parties must ensure that:

  • Teachers and faculty have reviewed the best practices for dance studio and theater spaces as noted in Section “People,” Subsection: “Gatherings in Enclosed Spaces.”
  • Dancers and teachers wear acceptable face coverings (see Section: “Places,” Subsection: “Protective Equipment”) at all times;
  • When within a confined space in which dance activity is underway, dancers and teachers should maintain 8 feet (10 feet preferable) of distance between one another to the maximum extent possible, considering occasional, brief contact that may be closer than 8 feet to address a health or safety risk (e.g. demonstrate a movement, correct form or posture). In any case, this close contact must be conducted within the least amount of time possible (i.e., no lingering or socializing);
  • A dedicated teaching zone exists (e.g. a taped-off box, circle or x), with a perimeter of at least 10 feet between the dance teacher and any other individual in the space.
  • A microphone may be provided to faculty to promote normal speaking; microphones should be used by only one (1) person at a time and should be disinfected between uses.
  • Dancers and teachers prohibit the sharing of personal items between one another (e.g. towels).
  • Dancers and teachers must clean and disinfect any shared equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.) in between use (e.g. demonstrations).

For dance training or teaching working with children under the age of 18 at studios, theaters, or performing arts centers, Responsible Parties should further consider:

  • Limiting participation to students ages 5 years and older
  • Building in break time within the class
  • Providing each student a consistent “spot” in class (eg. barre location, or area of the floor within the space
  • Providing hand sanitizer immediately upon arrival

Workplace Activity

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Office-Based Work Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must take measures to reduce interpersonal contact and congregation, through methods such as:

  • limiting in-person presence to only those staff who are necessary;
  • adjusting workplace hours;
  • reducing in-office workforce to accommodate social distancing guidelines;
  • batching activities, where possible, so employees can adhere to social distancing;
  • shifting design (e.g. A/B teams, staggered arrival/departure times to reduce congestion in lobbies and elevators); and/or
  • avoiding multiple teams working in one area by staggering scheduled tasks and using signs to indicate occupied areas.

Responsible Parties should create policies which encourage employees to work from home when feasible. Responsible Parties may choose to develop return-to-office tiers or waves for employees based on factors such as function, safe transportation, and ability to work remotely, as noted in Section “People,” Subsection: “Phased Reopening.” Additionally, Responsible Parties should provide the appropriate infrastructure needed (security, digital network, storage, video conference software, etc.)

Responsible Parties may choose to implement best practices for employees to successfully work from home, such as:

  • Conduct regular surveys of employees to determine what practices are working and what can be improved.
  • Provide tips and tricks for employees to enhance remote work sustainability. 
  • Allow for employees to set morning and evening boundaries and take regular breaks throughout the day.
  • Inform employees of the resources they have readily available.

Movement & Commerce

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance” & “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” & “Office-Based Work Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must monitor and control the flow of traffic into the studio, theater, or performing arts center to ensure:

  • adherence to maximum capacity and social distancing requirements, and
  • all individuals, including employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, sign in and complete a health screening.

Responsible Parties should put in place measures to reduce bi-directional foot traffic using tape or signs with arrows in narrow aisles, hallways, or spaces, or between equipment (including, but not limited to, barres, sound systems, dance floor, mats, media/live-stream equipment, poles, chairs, tables, props, musical instruments, microphones, etc.), and post signage and distance markers denoting spaces of six (6) feet in all commonly used areas and any areas in which lines are commonly formed or people may congregate (e.g. clock in/out stations, health-screening stations, break rooms, equipment checkout areas, cash register areas, locker rooms).

Responsible Parties should clearly designate separate entrances and exits, to the extent practicable.

Responsible Parties must be prepared to queue patrons outside while still maintaining physical distance, including through the use of visual cues and/or queueing control devices (e.g. stanchions, line distance markers, arrows). 

Responsible Parties should rearrange patron waiting areas (e.g. lines, parking areas) to maximize social distance among other people and minimize interaction with others in the area. 

Responsible Parties should limit on-site interactions (e.g. designate an egress(es) for individuals leaving the studio, theater, or performing arts center, and a separate ingress(es) for individuals entering) and movements (e.g. employees should remain near their workstations as often as possible).

Where practicable, Responsible Parties should limit the numbers of entrances in order to (1) manage the flow of traffic into the studio, theater, or performing arts center, and monitor occupancy/capacity limits and (2) facilitate sign-in and health screenings, while remaining in compliance with fire safety and other applicable regulations.

Responsible Parties must establish designated areas for pickups and deliveries, limiting contact to the extent possible. 

For merchandise or equipment deliveries, Responsible Parties should implement a touchless delivery system whereby drivers stay in the cab of the vehicle while delivery takes place, or, where not practicable, Responsible Parties must provide acceptable PPE appropriate to the anticipated activities that includes, at minimum, a face covering to personnel involved in the delivery at no cost for the duration of the delivery process. 

Responsible Parties must ensure that employees perform hand hygiene before and after transferring a load (e.g. from a delivery driver) of merchandise (e.g. perform hand hygiene before starting to load items; and once all items have been loaded, finish by performing hand hygiene again).

Responsible Parties should implement touchless check-in and payment options or pay ahead options to be used by patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, when available. Responsible Parties should minimize the handling of cash, credit cards, membership cards, and mobile devices, where possible.

  • Walk-in reservations and/or ticket purchases of any kind should be prohibited.
  • All touchless check-in and payment options should reiterate the facility’s protocols, disclaimers, and specific instructions around arrival times, on-site activity, etc.
  • Eliminate the need for Will Call or Box Office by providing and accepting digital tickets and/or making self check-in stations available within the facility.
  • Do not distribute any paper playbills or programs; instead make this information available digitally.

Responsible Parties must follow the NYS DOH food service guidelines applicable to their region for any food services activities.

Responsible Parties must follow the NYS DOH retail guidelines applicable to their region for any retail services activities.

Responsible Parties must follow the NYS DOH office-based work guidelines applicable to their region for any office-based work activities.

Responsible Parties must follow the NYC Open Culture Guidelines to implement any permitted, single day, socially distanced performances at over 100 street locations throughout all five boroughs.

2. PLACES

Air Handling Systems

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance”)

For facilities with central air handling systems, Responsible Parties must ensure central HVAC system filtration meets the highest rated filtration compatible with the currently installed filter rack and air handling systems, at a minimum MERV-13, or industry equivalent or greater (e.g. HEPA), as applicable, and as certified and documented by a certified HVAC technician, professional, or company, ASHRAE-certified professional, certified retro-commissioning professional, or New York licensed professional building engineer.

Responsible Parties may also consider adopting additional ventilation and air filtration mitigation protocols per CDC and ASHRAE recommendations, particularly for buildings older than 15 years, including the following:

  • Perform necessary retro-commissioning of central systems, as well as testing, balancing, and repairs as needed.
  • Increase ventilation rates and outdoor air ventilation to the extent possible.
  • Keep systems running for longer hours, especially for several hours daily before and after occupancy.
  • Disable demand-controlled ventilation, where reasonable, and maintain systems that increase fresh air supply.
  • Open outdoor air dampers to reduce or eliminate recirculation to the extent possible. 
  • Seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.
  • Regularly inspect systems and filters to ensure they are properly operating, and that filters are appropriately installed, serviced and within service life.
  • Open windows to the extent allowable for occupant safety and comfort.
  • Install appropriately designed and deployed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to deactivate airborne virus particles.
  • Use portable air cleaners (e.g. electric HEPA units), considering units that provide highest air change rate at appropriate performance level and do not generate harmful byproducts.

For facilities with central air handling systems that cannot handle the above mentioned minimum level of filtration (i.e., MERV-13 or greater), Responsible Parties must have a certified HVAC technician, professional, or company, ASHRAE-certified professional, certified retro-commissioning professional, or New York-licensed professional building engineer certify and document that the currently installed filter rack and air handling system would be unable to perform to the minimum level of heating and cooling that it was otherwise able to provide prior to the COVID-19 public health emergency if such a high degree of filtration (i.e., MERV-13 or greater) was installed. Further, Responsible Parties must retain such documentation for review by state or local health department officials to operate at a lesser filtration rating, of ideally MERV-11 or MERV-12, with additional ventilation and air filtration mitigation protocols. 

In addition, Responsible Parties with facilities that do not have HVAC systems installed, do not control the HVAC system within their facility, or have a central air handling system that is unable to meet a filtration rating of MERV-13 or greater, must adopt additional ventilation and air filtration mitigation protocols per CDC and ASHRAE recommendations, including the following:

  • Perform necessary retro-commissioning of central systems, as well as testing, balancing, and repairs as needed.
  • Increase ventilation rates and outdoor air ventilation to the extent possible.
  • Keep systems running for longer hours, especially for several hours daily before and after occupancy.
  • Disable demand-controlled ventilation, where reasonable, and maintain systems that increase fresh air supply. 
  • Open outdoor air dampers to reduce or eliminate recirculation to the extent possible. 
  • Seal edges of the filter to limit bypass. 
  • Regularly inspect systems and filters to ensure they are properly operating, and filters are appropriately installed, serviced, and within service life. 
  • Open windows and doors to the extent allowable for occupant safety and comfort. 
  • Install appropriately designed and deployed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to deactivate airborne virus particles. 
  • Use portable air cleaners (e.g. electric HEPA units), considering units that provide highest air change rate at appropriate performance level and do not generate harmful byproducts.
  • Consider the use of a Box Fan Filter System. 

Responsible Parties with facilities that do not have central air handling systems, or do not operate or otherwise control the systems, must adopt additional ventilation and air filtration mitigation protocols per CDC and ASHRAE recommendations, including the following:

  • Deploy appropriate portable air cleaners (e.g. electric HEPA units), considering units that provide highest air change rate at appropriate performance level and do not generate harmful byproducts.
  • Regularly inspect any room ventilation systems (e.g. window units) to ensure they are properly operating, and filters are appropriately installed, serviced, and within service life.
  • Keep any room ventilation systems running for longer hours, especially for several hours daily before and after occupancy.
  • Set room ventilation systems to maximize fresh air intake, set blower fans to low speed and to point away from occupants to the extent possible.
  • Open windows to the extent allowable for occupant safety and comfort. 
  • Set any ceiling fans to draw air upwards away from occupants, if applicable. 
  • Prioritize window fans to exhaust indoor air where possible. 
  • Avoid using fans that only recirculate air or only blow air into a room without providing for appropriate exhaust. 
  • Install appropriately designed and deployed ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) to deactivate airborne virus particles.
  • Consider the use of a Box Fan Filter System. 

Protective Equipment

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance”& “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Media Production Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must ensure that employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members are only permitted entry into the studio, theater, or performing arts center if they wear an acceptable face covering, provided that they are over the age of two (2) and able to medically tolerate such covering.

  • Acceptable face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut), surgical masks, and N95 respirators that are appropriate for exercise. Bandanas, buffs, masks with vents, and gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for dancers’ use in studios, theaters, or performing arts centers.
  • However, cloth, disposable, or other homemade face coverings are not acceptable face coverings for workplace activities that typically require a higher degree of protection for personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the nature of the work. For those activities, N95 respirators or other PPE used under existing industry standards should continue to be used, in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
  • The face covering requirement must be applied in a manner consistent with the federal ADA and New York State and City Human Rights Laws, as applicable.
  • For individuals who are unable to medically tolerate an acceptable face covering, Responsible Parties must ensure that such individuals wear a face shield at all times. However, the CDC “does not currently recommend use of face shields as a [sufficient] substitute for masks.”
  • Individuals are further expected to wear their face coverings during dance activity of any kind—performances (inclusive of any group activity with an audience like fully produced shows, informal shows, open rehearsals, practice sessions, dance battles, dance jams, etc.) classes, and rehearsals. When wearing such coverings interferes with necessary aspects such as hair, makeup, or wardrobe, performers may temporarily remove their face coverings and should don them as soon as possible. 
  • The following exceptions are permitted for all employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members
    • Individuals may be temporarily permitted to remove face coverings while eating or drinking, so long as they maintain six (6)six feet of distance from other individuals.
    • Individuals may be temporarily permitted to remove face coverings in aquatic settings (e.g. pool, individual shower).
    • Individuals may be temporarily permitted to remove face coverings if they are working solo in a designated space (so long as there is adequate ventilation and room turnover time before the next individual enters the studio) or if the individuals in the space are cohabitating.

Responsible Parties must further ensure individuals not participating in dance activities (e.g. teachers, audience members) wear acceptable face coverings when they are within less than six (6)six feet of other individuals, unless a physical barrier is present. Additionally, employees must wear face coverings any time they interact with patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, regardless of physical distance.

In addition to the necessary PPE as required for certain workplace activities, Responsible Parties must procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain acceptable face coverings, and provide such coverings to their employees while at work at no cost to the employee. Responsible Parties should have an adequate supply of face coverings, masks and other required PPE on hand should an employee need a replacement, or should a patron/dancer/teacher/audience member be in need.

Face coverings must be cleaned or replaced after use and may not be shared. Please consult the CDC guidance for additional information on cloth face coverings and other types of PPE, as well as instructions on use and cleaning.

  • Note that cloth face coverings or disposable masks shall not be considered acceptable face coverings for workplace activities that impose a higher degree of protection for face covering requirements. OSHA standards for such safety equipment must be adhered to.
  • Responsible Parties must advise employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/ to regularly clean or replace their face coverings if they become wet or soiled.

Responsible Parties must allow employees to use their own acceptable face coverings but cannot require employees to supply their own face coverings. Further, this guidance shall not prevent employees from wearing their personally owned additional protective coverings (e.g. surgical masks, N95 respirators, or face shields), or if the Responsible Parties otherwise require employees to wear more protective PPE due to the nature of their work. Employers should comply with all applicable OSHA standards. Bandanas, buffs, masks with vents, or gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for dancers’ use in studios, theaters, or performing arts centers.

Responsible Parties must put in place measures to limit the sharing of objects, such as tools, as well as the touching of shared surfaces (excluding dance equipment), such as door handles and cash registers; or, require workers to wear gloves (trade-appropriate or medical) when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched surfaces; or, require workers to sanitize or wash their hands before and after contact.

Responsible Parties must train workers on how to adequately don, doff, clean (as applicable), and discard PPE, including, but not limited to, acceptable face coverings.

For media production and/or documentation of dance activity in a studio, theater, or performing arts center, Responsible Parties must ensure that all employees, cast, and crew in close proximity to dancers without face coverings (e.g. hair stylists, make-up artists, costume designers, sound technicians, studio teachers, stunt coordinators, special effects technicians) wear both an acceptable face covering and eye protection, such as a face shield or goggles, for the duration of the activity requiring proximity. All employees, cast, and crew should also wear gloves or practice hand hygiene before and after such activities.

  • Responsible Parties should consider having dancers, including any extras, arrive “camera ready,” to the extent possible (e.g. having completed hair, makeup, and wardrobe off site or through remote instruction).
  • Responsible Parties should limit in-person presence to only those staff who are necessary for relevant media production activities.
  • Responsible Parties should consider taking measures to reduce close or proximate contact between dancers, such as amending scripts or using digital effects where possible.
  • Where possible, Responsible Parties should limit scenes with prolonged close or proximate contact between individuals (e.g. near-contact dancing).
  • Responsible Parties should refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Media Production During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” for full media production protocols.

Hygiene, Cleaning & Disinfection

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance” & “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Media Production Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” &“Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and DOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19,” and the “STOP THE SPREAD” poster, as applicable. Responsible Parties must maintain logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.

Responsible Parties must provide and maintain hand hygiene stations on site, as follows:

  • For handwashing: soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels.
  • For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical.
  • Responsible Parties must make hand sanitizer available throughout the studio, theater, or performing arts center for use by employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members (e.g. entrances, exits, appointment desks, in studios). Touch-free hand sanitizer dispensers should be installed where possible.

Responsible Parties should place signage near hand sanitizer stations indicating that visibly soiled hands should be washed with soap and water; hand sanitizer is not effective on visibly soiled hands.

Responsible Parties should place receptacles around the studio, theater, or performing arts center for disposal of soiled items, including PPE.

Responsible Parties must ensure that equipment, including dance floors, is regularly (e.g. between use by each patrons and/or employees) cleaned and disinfected using registered disinfectants. Refer to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) list of products registered in New York State and identified by the EPA as effective against COVID-19.

For media production and/or documentation of dance activity, Responsible Parties must ensure that all media production equipment and tools (e.g. cases, cameras, eyepieces, lenses, monitors and touchscreens, dollies) are regularly cleaned and disinfected using registered disinfectants. Refer to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) list of products registered in New York State and identified by the EPA as effective against COVID-19.

  • Responsible Parties must ensure that all props, costumes, and set materials are cleaned and disinfected between each use and stored in sealed containers between uses.
  • Responsible Parties should ensure that costumes are collected and laundered or otherwise cleaned and disinfected between each use. All clean costumes should be sealed in individual bags. Consider supplying cast members with laundry bags to securely store used costumes between cleanings.
  • Responsible Parties should refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Media Production During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” for full media production protocols.

Responsible Parties must provide appropriate cleaning and disinfection supplies for shared and frequently touched surfaces and encourage employees to use these supplies, following manufacturers’ instructions, before and after use of these surfaces, followed by hand hygiene.

Responsible Parties should encourage patrons to bring their own equipment (e.g. mats, towels), to the extent possible.

  • While it is a best practice to have patrons bring their own towels, Responsible Parties may provide towels to patrons and perform laundry service, provided that they do so in accordance with CDC guidance, which includes:
    • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
    • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry.
    • Do not shake dirty laundry.
    • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers.
    • Remove gloves, and wash hands immediately after performing laundry services.

Responsible Parties must conduct regular cleaning and disinfection of the studio, theater, or performing arts center and more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high risk areas used by many individuals and for frequently touched surfaces. Cleaning and disinfection must be rigorous and ongoing and should occur frequently throughout the hours of operations and whenever needed. Please refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection of Public and Private Facilities for COVID-19” for detailed instructions on how to clean and disinfect facilities.

  • Responsible Parties must ensure that shared equipment, including dance floors, are cleaned and disinfected by employees or patrons between every use.
  • Responsible Parties must provide appropriate cleaning and disinfection supplies for shared and frequently touched surfaces and equipment, including dance floors, and should require employees and encourage patrons to use these supplies, following manufacturers’ instructions, before and after use of these surfaces, followed by hand hygiene.
  • Responsible Parties must ensure that sufficient staff is available to “wipe down” (e.g. clean and disinfect) equipment between users, but Responsible Parties may require patrons to “wipe down” equipment before and/or after each use.
  • Responsible Parties must ensure that rental equipment (e.g. mats) is cleaned and disinfected between each use.

Responsible Parties must ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms must be cleaned and disinfected at least every two (2) hours, or more often depending on frequency of use.

  • Responsible Parties must ensure distancing rules are adhered to by using signage, occupied markers, or other methods to reduce restroom capacity where feasible.
  • Mask use should be maintained and promoted through signage in restrooms, too, as the flushing of toilets causes the COVID-19 viral load to accumulate in the air.

Responsible Parties must ensure that shared workstations (e.g. check-in desks) are cleaned and disinfected between use by different employees.

If cleaning or disinfection products or the act of cleaning and disinfection causes safety hazards or degrades the material or equipment, including dance floors, Responsible Parties must close such equipment, put in place hand hygiene stations between use, supply disposable gloves, and/or set limits on the number of individuals who may use such equipment.

Responsible Parties must provide for the cleaning and disinfection of exposed areas in the event an individual is confirmed to have a positive case of COVID-19, with such cleaning and disinfection to include, at a minimum, all heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g. equipment–including dance floors, handrails, check-in desks).

CDC guidelines on “Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility” if someone is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 are as follows:

  • Close off areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
    • Responsible Parties do not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off the affected areas.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, such as bathrooms, common areas, and shared equipment.
  • Once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected, it can be reopened for use.
  • If more than seven (7) days have passed since the person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 visited or used the studio, theater, or performing arts center, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.
  • The individual suspected or confirmed to have COVID-18 may return to the facility upon:
    • (a) no fever for 72 hours without use of antipyretic medication (fever reducer), improved symptoms, and that 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared; OR
    • b) the individual must have no fever for 72 hours without use of antipyretic medication (fever reducer), improved symptoms, and a negative test result.

For activities involving the handling of shared objects (e.g. payment devices), areas (e.g. pick-up area), and/or surfaces (e.g. doors), Responsible Parties must ensure that such areas and objects are cleaned and disinfected daily, at a minimum.

Responsible Parties must prohibit shared food and beverages among employees (e.g. self-serve meals and beverages), encourage employees to bring lunch from home, and reserve adequate space for employees to observe social distancing while eating meals.

Phased Reopening

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance,” “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” )

Responsible Parties are encouraged to phase-in reopening activities so as to allow for operational issues to be resolved before production or work activities return to normal levels. Responsible Parties should consider limiting the number of employees, hours, and number of patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members served when first reopening so as to provide operations with the ability to adjust to the changes.

Additional Considerations for Accessibility: An element of the Responsible Party’s phased reopening is bound to be virtual, in order to offer widespread reach and engagement as well as an option for those who feel more safe participating virtually. For any online/virtual offerings, consider offering accessibility services such as ASL Interpretation and Live captioning for live streaming as well as ALT text and image descriptions for social media posts. For further information on how to incorporate these services into your platforms, please see NYC guides for Digital Accessibility here.

Communications Plan

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance,” “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance”)

Responsible Parties should develop a communications plan for employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members that includes applicable instructions, training, signage, and a consistent means to provide employees and patrons with information. Responsible Parties may consider developing webpages, text and email groups, and social media.

Responsible Parties must encourage individuals to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE, specifically face coverings, through verbal communication and signage.

Responsible Parties should post signage inside and outside of the studio, theater, or performing arts center to remind employees and patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfection protocols.

3. PROCESSES

Screening & Testing

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance” & “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Media Production Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must ensure that employees (dance and non-dance employees) whose job functions or roles involve close or proximate contact with others, have been tested for COVID-19 through a diagnostic test, prior to their participation in on-site activity, and continue to be tested on a regular schedule thereafter(eg, once per week, every two (2) weeks, etc.), when on site or location.

Responsible Parties must implement mandatory daily health screening practices for employees, patrons, and, where practicable, contractors and vendors, but such screening shall not be mandated for delivery personnel.

  • Screening practices may be performed remotely (e.g. by telephone or electronic survey), before individuals report to the studio, theater or performing arts center, to the extent possible; or may be performed on-site.
  • Screening should be coordinated to prevent individuals from intermingling in close or proximate contact with each other prior to completion of the screening.
  • Accessibility should be taken into account when screening persons with disabilities (eg deaf patrons who read lips may require screening from staff wearing a clear face covering or one with a transparent window over their mouth).
  • At a minimum, screening must be required of all employees, patrons, and, where practicable, contractors and vendors, and must be completed using a questionnaire that determines whether the individual has:
    • (a) knowingly been in close contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19;
    • (b) tested positive for COVID-19 through a diagnostic test in the past 14 days;
    • (c) experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days;
    • (d) traveled within a state with significant community spread of COVID-19 for longer than 24 hours within the past 14 days; and
  • All employees, patrons, contracts, and vendors who complete a questionnaire must provide contact information for the purpose of contact tracing and notification.

Refer to CDC guidance on “Symptoms of Coronavirus for the most up to date information on symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Refer to DOH travel advisory for the most up to date information on states with significant spread of COVID-19 and quarantine requirements.

Screening practices include:

  • If space and building configuration allows, screen individuals at or near the building entrance to minimize the impact in case of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Allow for adequate social distancing while individuals queue for screening and/or building entry.
  • Admit only individuals who have been screened either remotely or upon arrival.
  • If temperature checks are performed, use contactless thermal cameras in building entrances to identify potentially symptomatic individuals and direct them to a secondary screening area to complete a follow-up screening. If not possible or feasible, a temperature check may be performed using contactless thermometers.

Responsible Parties must require employees to immediately disclose if and when their responses to any of the aforementioned screening questions changes, such as if they begin to experience symptoms, including during or outside of work hours.

In addition to the screening questionnaire, temperature checks may also be conducted per Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or DOH guidelines. Responsible Parties are prohibited from keeping records of employee health data (e.g. the specific temperature data of an individual), but are permitted to maintain records that confirm individuals were screened and the result of such screening (e.g. pass/fail, cleared/not cleared).

Responsible Parties must ensure that any personnel performing screening activities, including temperature checks, are appropriately protected from exposure to potentially infectious individuals entering the studio, theater, or performing arts center. Personnel performing screening activities should be trained by employer-identified individuals who are familiar with CDC, DOH, and OSHA protocols. 

Screeners should be provided and use PPE, including at a minimum, an acceptable face covering or mask, and may include gloves, a gown, and/or a face shield. Bandanas, buffs, masks with vents, or gaiters are not acceptable face coverings for dancers’ use in studios, theaters, or performing arts centers.

An individual who screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms must not be allowed to enter the facility, and employees who screen positive must be sent home with instructions to contact their healthcare provider for assessment and testing.

  • Responsible Parties should remotely provide the employee with information on healthcare and testing resources.
  • Responsible Parties must immediately notify the state and local health department about the case if test results are positive for COVID-19.

Responsible Parties should refer to DOH’s “Interim Guidance for Public and Private Employees Returning to Work Following COVID-19 Infection or Exposure regarding protocols and policies for employees seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or after the employee had close or proximate contact with a person with COVID-19.

Responsible Parties must designate a central point of contact, which may vary by activity, location, shift, or day, responsible for receiving and attesting to having reviewed all questionnaires, with such contact also identified as the party for individuals to inform if they later are experiencing COVID-19- related symptoms, as noted on the questionnaire.

  • Identified point of contact for the studio, theater, or performing arts center should be prepared to receive notifications from individuals of positive cases and initiate the respective cleaning and disinfection procedures.

Responsible Parties must designate a site safety monitor whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the site safety plan.

Responsible Parties must maintain a log of every person, including employees, patrons/dancers/teachers/audience members, and where practicable, contractors, and vendors, who may have close or proximate contact with other individuals at the workplace or area; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means. The log must contain contact information, including each individual’s full name, address, and phone number, such that all contacts may be identified, traced, and notified in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.

  • The sign-in process may be conducted through any means that the Responsible Parties establish to collect the above contact information, including, but not limited to, a digital application, barcode reader, swipe card reader, and/or paper form.
  • Responsible Parties must maintain a record of the aforementioned sign-in data for a period 28 days and make such data available to state and local health departments upon request.

Tracing & Tracking

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance,” “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive COVID-19 test result by an individual at their studio, theater, or performing arts center.

In the case of an individual testing positive, the Responsible Parties must cooperate with the state and local health department as required to trace all contacts in the studio, theater, or performing arts center and notify the state and local health department of all individuals who entered the studio, theater, or performing arts center dating back 48 hours before the individual first experienced COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive, whichever is earlier. Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state law and regulations.

  • In the case of an individual showing symptoms while in the studio, theater, or performing arts center, Responsible Parties must notify employees in the surrounding areas or who may have been affected immediately with information on where the individual has been throughout the studio, theater, or performing arts center and notify them if the symptomatic person tests positive.

State and local health departments may, under their legal authority, implement monitoring and movement restrictions of infected or exposed persons including home isolation or quarantine. 

Employees who are alerted that they have come into close contact with a person with COVID-19, and have been alerted via tracing, tracking or other mechanism, are required to self-report to their employer at the time of alert and shall follow the protocol referenced above.

Vaccines

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, two vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:

As of December 28, 2020, 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
  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine​

Starting March 30, all New Yorkers age 30 or older are able to be vaccinated, and all New Yorkers age 16 or older will be eligible on April 6. 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:

4. OPERATOR / EMPLOYER PLANS

(Adapted from NYS DOH’s “Gyms & Fitness Centers Guidance,” “Sports & Recreation Guidance,” “Low-Risk Indoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance,” & “Low-Risk Outdoor Arts & Entertainment Guidance”)

Responsible Parties must conspicuously post completed safety plans on site for employees. The State has made available a business reopening safety plan template to guide business owners and operators in developing plans to protect against the spread of COVID-19. 

It is important to note that no state guidance is or will ever be able to speak to the nuances of an industry at large. To proactively address this reality and further support Responsible Parties’ Operator/Employer plans, various scenarios were considered to create Dance Field Scenarios.

The Dance Field Scenarios offer additional considerations and recommendations above and beyond the Standard Recommendations. These Dance Field Scenarios were borne from the resources, questions, dialogue, and feedback shared by the field and advisors. They consider both indoor and outdoor activity and offer greater specificity, suggestions, and examples. 

The Dance Field Scenarios cover the following scenarios, one or many of which may be applicable to you:

  • Dance Company Managers
  • Dancers & Dance Workers
  • Dance Teachers
  • Office-Based Dance Workers
  • Dance Studio Managers
  • Dance Presenters/Performance Venues
  • Dance Studio Visitors/Renters
  • Performance Venue Visitors/Renters

State and Federal Resources for Businesses and Entities 

(Source: NYS Business Reopening Safety Plan Template)

As these resources are frequently updated, please stay current on state and federal guidance issued in response to COVID-19. 


General Information

Workplace Guidance

Personal Protective Equipment Guidance

Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance

Screening and Testing Guidance

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