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COVID-19: Guide to Reopening Raleigh Little Theatre

12/07/2020


Revised 12/7/2020

Purpose

The purpose of this guide is to direct staff and volunteers towards new systems of operations that must be in place for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. By following the guidelines presented in this document, staff and volunteers will prioritize the safety of audiences, volunteers, staff, and students. While these guidelines cannot guarantee eradication of the virus on our campus, they will allow the organization to communicate and practice all possible safety protocols we are able to achieve so people can make informed choices about their participation in any events or classes. This is intended to be a living document that will be revised as we learn more about the virus and social restrictions on our venue. 

Guiding Principles and Practices

  • Mitigation measures must be consistent with public health guidelines and timing recommendations.
  • Mitigation measures must be effective, manageable, consistent, and tenable.
  • Communication to staff, audiences, and volunteers must be transparent, empathetic, and meaningful.
  • Supply chain, including PPE, sanitizer, and disinfectant must be widely available before a phased reopening can begin. 
  • Expectations regarding staff, volunteer, and student responsibility for adhering to RLT’s guidelines must be effectively communicated. 
  • RLT must be prepared to assess and adjust our operations based on changing circumstances. 
  • RLT will continue to support remote work whenever possible and limit on site work to essential roles and responsibilities.
  • RLT will remain ADA compliant when implementing mitigation measures. 
  • Vulnerable and/or at risk staff, volunteers, audiences, or students will be encouraged to stay home. 

Communication Strategies

The Raleigh Little Theatre staff will develop strong communications strategies to inform volunteers, students, and audiences of all safety measures we will adopt in response to the coronavirus. It is critical for the organization to provide both advance and onsite communications, and it is critical we clearly communicate safety protocol and expectations. Communications should include an emphasis on good hygiene and new safety measures they will encounter when they enter our space. It is critical to develop a disclaimer to be included in all communications to make it clear that RLT cannot guarantee that all exposure to the virus will be eliminated. The goal of all of the organization’s communication should be to provide a level of transparency and honesty to allow every person the ability to make an informed choice about returning to our venue while not promising anything beyond our control. 

Within the medium risk category established by OSHA (RLT is considered a Medium Risk Business), we recognize that in the performing arts center context, certain tasks and activities pose a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 than others (e.g., valet parking versus processing ticket transactions behind a partition). 

RLT will communicate with volunteers, audience members, and students through the following communications channels:

  • The Reopening Guide in its entirety will be posted on the RLT website.
  • Safety processes, procedures, and expectations will be provided on each productions’ webpage. In addition, all ticket holders will receive the information within the pre-show email.
  • Volunteers will receive safety processes, procedure, and expectations from stage managers or from the staff member in charge of their volunteer time.
  • Students will receive safety processes, procedure, and expectations within class confirmation and information emails sent prior to the class session beginning. 

Guest Risk Assessment

The following is a risk assessment list consisting of possible guest experiences while visiting RLT and potential mitigation controls for each.

Attending Ticketed Events

  • Self-Parking
    • Install social distancing controls in pedestrian areas – mark 6 ft. segments on walkways into the theatre.
    • Install signage outside the theatre, on posts or near the benches, reminding guests to maintain social distancing and wear masks
  • Ticket Services/Box Office
    • Only Sutton Box Office will be in use
    • Use door lists to limit interaction with patrons (coupled with wristbands for shows in the Amphitheatre)
    • Encourage cash-free payments in all communications.
    • Use guest operated credit card readers if possible. Use square chip readers.
    • Install social distancing controls for queuing
    • If we are to have more than 50 people in the space, stagger entry times.
    • Disinfectant wipes/sanitizer available to guests at touch points (box office windows)
    • Implement guest questionnaire to aid in identifying symptoms and to participate in contact tracing.
  • Ticket Scanning/Building Entry
    • Guests should be instructed to wear PPE or face coverings inside at all times (signs on doors and in lobby)
    • Implement assigned entry/exit doors to reduce crowds at main doors (Sutton), stagger entry times.
    • Install social distance controls for queuing
    • Disinfectant wipes/sanitizer available to guests at touch points.
  • Lobby Restrooms
    • Disinfectant wipes/sanitizer available to guests at touch points
    • Add signage emphasizing social distancing, hand washing, and maximum occupancy for restrooms
  • Lobby
    • Add signage and floor markings to reinforce expected guest behavior (social distancing/masks)
    • Disinfectant wipes/sanitizer available to guests at touch points
    • Create guest movement controls to maintain guest separation and prevent the need to share common spaces while waiting
    • Eliminate water fountains.
    • Eliminate seating in the lobby to reduce loitering, have chairs available for guests that require them.
    • Open lobby at the same time as the house to allow guests to move directly to seats.
    • Take temperature of all patrons as they enter the space
    • Check that patrons have filled out their questionnaire
    • Weather permitting, leave lobby doors open for air flow and so patrons don’t have to touch door handles
  • Seating
    • Develop plan for seating that maintains social distancing protocol.
    • Reduce seating capacity to conform to local social distancing guidelines
    • Limit guest movement to designated seating area only
    • Eliminate usher contact with guests – self seating
    • Digital playbill option only
    • Provide disinfecting wipes to guests to sanitize their seating area
  • Concessions
    • Eliminate concessions
  • Egress
    • Establish direct exit routes for guests – do not allow guests to congregate in the lobby post show.
    • Disinfect theatre between performances.
    • Open emergency exits for quicker egress
  • For events with more than 50 patrons
    • Load auditorium from front to back to eliminate crossover contact if more than 50 people will be in the space.
    • Pulse dismissal from seats to reduce crowding at bottleneck points

Back of House Risk Assessment

  • Stage Door Entry
    • Implement questionnaire for all actors and crews to aid in identifying symptoms and to participate in contact tracing
    • Add signage to reinforce expected guest behavior (social distancing, masks, etc..)
    • Administer temperature screenings to all visitors and employees
    • Provide appropriate PPE as necessary
    • Alter configurations of sign in areas to ensure safe distancing
    • Provide hand sanitizer stations inside stage door
    • Make actors/technicians use their own pen to sign in.
    • Routinely disinfect touch points within entryway
    • Limit personnel to essential workers only
  • Cast/Crew Common Areas (Green Room/Studio)
    • Routinely disinfect touch points
    • Provide hand sanitizer stations
    • Encourage regular hand washing routines
    • Limit number of occupants (staff/volunteers) to promote social distancing
    • Eliminate “buffet style” catering or cast/crew baking, use individually packaged beverages/snacks
  • Dressing Rooms
    • Disinfectant wipes/sanitizer available at entry
    • Reduce dressing stations to comply with social distancing
    • Limit occupancy of each room based on social distancing guidelines
    • Spray and disinfect room/restrooms daily
    • Provide each actor with their own labeled bag to contain their face mask
  • Backstage restrooms
    • Provide disinfectant wipes/sanitizer at entry
    • Temporarily close every other stall/sink to enforce social distancing
    • Clean/disinfect touch points constantly during high usage
    • Spray/disinfect restrooms daily
  • Rehearsal spaces
    • Everyone must wear appropriate PPE, when possible
    • Provide hand sanitizer stations
    • Limit capacity to maintain social distancing guidelines
    • Disinfect all high-risk equipment after each use (radios, headsets, microphones, costumes, safety equipment, props)
    • Encourage routine hand washing
    • Clean/disinfect touch point constantly during high usage
  • Props/deck crew
    • Everyone working backstage must wear appropriate PPE
    • Enforce social distancing wherever possible
    • Reduce number of personnel allowed onstage or develop a strategy per show/event for staffing levels and on-stage locations during tech, run and strike
    • Disinfect all high-risk equipment after each use (radios, headsets, microphones, safety equipment, props, furniture)
    • Routine hand washing breaks and addition of hand sanitizing stations off-stage
    • Clean/disinfect touch points constantly during high usage
    • Disinfect stage floor daily
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Booth crew (stage manager, light/sound board ops)
    • Everyone working backstage must wear appropriate PPE
    • Enforce social distancing wherever possible
    • Reduce number of personnel allowed in booths to conform with social distancing guidelines
    • Disinfect all high-risk equipment after each use (radios, headsets, microphones, keyboards, light/sound boards, safety equipment)
    • Encourage routine hand washing
    • Disinfect touchable surfaces daily
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Orchestra
    • Musicians required to wear PPE unless PPE interferes with their instrument
    • Enforce social distancing wherever possible
    • Install sneeze guards/mute shields between musicians if possible
    • Reduce number of personnel allowed in orchestra pit to conform with social distancing measures
    • Disinfect all high-risk equipment after each use (radios, headsets, microphones, safety equipment)
    • Encourage routine hand washing by employees and guests
    • Provide hand sanitizer stations
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Actors
    • Everyone must wear PPE at all times except when they are onstage or putting on makeup (including in the wings)
    • Limit number of actors in dressing room spaces so they can socially distance
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Wardrobe crew
    • Crew will be assigned certain actors/changes and should limit interaction with others
    • Everyone must wear appropriate PPE when backstage
    • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes for all staff/volunteers and performers
    • Reconfigure wardrobe office, and dressing spaces to comply with social distancing guidelines.
    • Reduce number of personnel allowed onstage
    • Reconfigure quick change positions and add curtain barrier between stations
    • Encourage routine hand washing
    • Clean/disinfect touch points constantly during high usage
    • Disinfect costumes, wigs, jewelry, shoes
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.

Front of House Risk Assessment

  • Ticket Agents/Box Office
    • Provide ticket agents appropriate PPE
    • Train employees in fitting, wearing and using PPE as well as safe removal, sanitizing and disposal
    • Implement pandemic and COVID-19 training courses for all employees
    • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes
    • Enforce requirements for hand washing and social distancing
    • Install protective barriers in open ticket window layouts
    • Encourage cash-free payments – card preferred
    • If employers handle credit cards, disinfect cards pre/post transaction
    • Disinfect box office work area daily
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Ushers
    • Reduce usher head count to required minimum
    • Provide ticket takers and ushers appropriate PPE
    • Train volunteers in fitting, wearing and using PPE as well as safe removal, sanitizing and disposal
    • Implement pandemic and COVID-19 training courses for all
    • Eliminate close contact with guests and escorting guests to seats
    • Add higher visibility aisle and seat signage for self-service
    • Provide hand sanitizer and wipes
    • Adopt touchless ticket scanning; guests retain ticket or electronic device during scanning
    • Encourage routine hand washing
    • Relocate scanning locations away from doorway to increase distancing or increase number of scanning locations as maximum number of guest increases to 50
    • Use tables or racks to distribute programs/use e-programs
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Concessions
    • Eliminate concessions
  • General
    • Limit office staff to essential workers only – continue telework wherever possible
    • Provide office workers appropriate PPE
    • Staff must wear masks whenever outside of their private offices or whenever in contact with each other or the public.
    • Any staff member who is sick or has any symptoms of Covid-19 (or the flu) should remain home and quarantine according to CDC recommendations
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
    • Minimize contact among workers, clients and vendors by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications and implementing telework if feasible
    • Implement pandemic and COVID-19 training courses for all employees
    • Train employees in fitting, wearing and using PPE as well as safe removal, sanitizing and disposal
    • Train employees on safe handling and disposal of contaminated material and waste
    • Create an “isolation room” for any actor/volunteer/student/audience member that feels ill and cannot leave RLT immediately.
    • Consider changing work spaces to those that have adequate ventilation
  • Entry/reception
    • Require all visitors wear PPE
    • Designate separate entrances for deliveries/receiving
  • Common area/break rooms (kitchenette)
    • Routinely disinfect touch points
    • Encourage regular hand washing routines with employees
    • Limit number of occupants to promote social distancing
    • Eliminate “buffet style” catering; use individually packaged beverages/snacks

Education

  • General
    • Eliminate all backstage tours and field trip group visits to RLT.
    • Offer virtual classes and camps in conjunction with in person programs when resumed. All teachers using the building to broadcast classes must wear PPE until the class starts
    • Routinely disinfect used classroom spaces after each class session.
    • Provide hand sanitizer/wipes in classroom spaces and lobby spaces used for arrival/dismissal of students.
    • Discontinue nonessential travel to offsite locations
    • Inform and encourage staff/volunteers to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Classes
    • Only class spaces indoors will be the Gaddy Theatre and Sutton Stage.
    • Students should enter the building from the Lobby corresponding to the stage that their class will be on.
    • Students and teachers should remain in classroom areas
    • Students of each class will use the bathroom of the lobby corresponding to their classroom area.
    • In person classes only on Saturdays and for spring break camp.
    • Class sizes limited to 10 students.
    • Students will be greeted by ed staff at the curb/car.
    • Health questionnaire done with parents upon arrival each week.
    • Temperature checks will be done for each student upon arrival.
    • Masks are mandatory for all students, staff and teaching artists.
    • Parents will be given car signs for pick up. They will stay in their cars and students are dismissed individually once we see their car sign.
    • Lobby doors propped open for arrival and departure.
    • Class schedule has at least 30 mins in between classes for cleaning of the space by ed staff.
    • Any sharing/performance at the end of a class or camp session will happen virtually, be recorded for families to view later, or take place in the amphitheatre if schedule and weather permits.

General Building Concerns

  • Custodial/Facilities Engineers
    • Provide custodial appropriate PPE
    • Provide PPE safe disposal receptacles
    • Spray/disinfect auditoriums and other high usage areas daily
    • Clean lobby restrooms during performances between high usage times (ie. Top of show and intermission)
    • Clean backstage/office restrooms routinely
  • City of Raleigh
    • Consult HVAC engineer to assess filter effectiveness and alter airflow patterns to turn over air more frequently
  • Actions needed in the event someone tests positive for COVID-19
    • Notify all people who have been in the building (patrons/volunteers/staff)
    • If the person is a patron, crew or actor, cancel the show
    • If the person is a staff person or visitor to the theatre that did not come in contact with the crew or actors involved in a show, then re-assess.

Adapted from the Performing Arts Center Consortium’s Guide to Reopening Theatrical Venues 5/15/20