Advocacy Alert: How to Prepare for the Coronavirus

Dear Members,

With news of the Coronavirus on the news and on social media, I am writing to encourage that we come together to remain calm, alert, and informed.

As of today, there are no documented Coronavirus cases in NYC. However, given the nature of the virus, it is important that we prepare ourselves and our staff on preventive measures. Here is a link to an article from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), February 2020 that was sent out by the Off Broadway League.

I’ve also attached a memo from ArtsReady, an online emergency preparedness service by and for arts/cultural nonprofits.

The Key Takeaways: 

Facility Readiness: ArtsReady suggests putting additional hand-sanitizing stations in the lobby and theatre spaces and bathrooms, and make wipes available for people to use on armrests if the surface is wood or metal. Remind people to wash their hands. I suggest doing the same in offices and rehearsal studios. This simple act will go a long way in communicating that you are looking out in everyone’s best interest.

Internal Communication: Given the amount of press the virus is receiving, you cannot communicate enough with your staff. I realize that each theatre has its challenges, but we are letting our staff know that if they have concerns (i.e. they experience flu-like symptoms, they or family members are immune-compromised), they can work from home. We are also cross-training staff so that our front-of-house and shared space managers are covered. And, we have assured them that our sick time policies will be flexible for those who need it.  

Hope for the best, AND prepare… For many in our community, this is not the first emergency we’ve had to face, and it will not be the last. The very act of preparing helps to reassure your staff, your board and your audience, that you are taking this situation very seriously.  

Because the situation will continue to change, we will continue to send updates to the community. In the meantime, I hope that the CDC link and the ArtsReady memo helps answer your questions. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Ginny Louloudes

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