In developing its plan for reopening live, on site production before an attending audience as safely as possible while COVID-19 still significantly effects all daily activities, Upstream Theater has been cognizant that the health of its staff, artists and audience members must always be of paramount importance. It is with this as a guiding concern that these protocols and requirements have been established and put in place. Our fervent desire to once again present live theater is seriously tempered by the understanding that this can only be done by the implementation and strict practice of methods that ensure the greatest degree of safety to all involved.
All decisions reflected in this plan have been and will continue to be informed by rules and recommendations of local, state, and national health organizations, and all measures taken have been and will be grounded in solid public health science and infection control. The plan is based on the minimization of risk by pursuing a multi-layered defense integration strategy with shared responsibilities across staff, artists and audiences with a constant awareness of all evolving recommendations from the scientific and medical communities. Our plan acknowledges the importance of flexibility- vigilant awareness and a readiness to respond to new knowledge and developments, and adapt to new, perhaps ever evolving behavioral norms. We at Upstream are very much aware of the importance of building trust through transparency and open, clear communication that explains all the steps we have taken to minimize risk to our staff, performers, production personnel and patrons, while at the same time making sure all measures reinforce our commitment to the practice of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Upstream Theater stages all its productions in venues that are part of and operated by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. Although the Foundation maintains a number of theater spaces, Upstream has principally performed at two of them: the Marcel Theater and the Kranzberg Arts Center, both located within the City of St. Louis. The areas in these venues open to the public are the lobbies, restrooms, and the actual spaces where the plays are performed. In addition to these areas, Upstream staff, artists and production personnel have access to the backstage spaces and dressing rooms. All these areas will be subject to the safety protocols of both Upstream Theater and the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. Upstream Theater rents these spaces on a per event basis. When we are either in rehearsal or performance, Upstream will coordinate through ongoing and continuous communication with Kranzberg Arts Foundation personnel to make certain that the safety measures of both organizations are vigorously enacted, particularly in regard to, but not limited to, mutual protocols concerning deep cleaning and comprehensive viral disinfection measures of the above referenced areas, enhanced sanitation by means of hand sanitizer dispensers or hand washing stations at points of venue entry and common areas along with assurance that all such dispensers and stations are adequately filled and operational, and the enactment of dress code policies (face masks and other Protective Personal Equipment) regarding all employees, contractors, staff and volunteers interacting with the public. When in rehearsal and performance, Upstream Theater will have its safety protocols prominently displayed in the venue lobby, common areas, and backstage and dressing rooms. These protocols will also be announced on its website. It is anticipated that these same measures will be employed by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.
At this time, it is hoped that Upstream Theater will resume production in the fall of 2021, but an exact date has not yet been chosen. In the past, Upstream has taken a number of its productions to various state correctional facilities. It is not certain whether such an outreach will be undertaken in the first season of renewed production, but if it is, it will only be with the implementation of the company’s herein delineated safety measures and with the close collaboration and scrutiny of all appropriate facility personnel.
Sources consulted to devise this safety plan include guidelines and recommendations issued by, among others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the safety protocols mandated by Actors’ Equity Association, the City of St. Louis Department of Public Health, and various resources made available by the Missouri Arts Council through its Missouri ArtSafe Program.
Upstream Theater will closely and continuously monitor all scientific updates and developments and all recommended amendments and changes in protocols issued by scientific agencies such as the CDC. The theater is aware that circumstances may arise that would necessitate the temporary discontinuation of production. Such circumstances may include changes in local health guidelines, a resurgence of viral cases, or the discovery of a COVID-19 case among the company, staff or patrons of the theater. The measures then undertaken, including durations of closure or quarantine, will be implemented in accordance with the best practices then being recommended by the epidemiologists and scientists associated with the leading public health agencies enumerated above. Our patrons would be notified immediately, contact tracing measures as described below would be implemented, and refunds for cancelled performances would be given in keeping with established company policy.
All safety procedures described herein will be reevaluated on a regular basis, and the plan will be modified or altered based on its standard of effectiveness and the most up to date public health and safety guidelines.
CORE SAFETY GUIDELINES:
To provide a safe environment for our employees, artists, production personnel, volunteers, contractors, vendors and guests, we pledge to adopt and adhere to the following safety practices:
1. MANDATORY FACIAL COVERINGS
To ensure that personnel and visitors comply with recommended mask wearing guidance, we will:
a) Require all frontline workers to wear appropriate face coverings that are at least medical grade and fit snugly over the nostrils, mouth and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face.
b) Instruct employees to wash or replace their face coverings daily.
c) Require all visitors and audience members to comply with local mask wearing mandates (unless eating or drinking). Those over 2 years old will be asked to wear face coverings unless a medical condition prevents them from doing so.
d) Provide all frontline workers and volunteers with acceptable face coverings at no cost.
e) Make free non-medical disposable masks available to visitors who arrive without safe face coverings.
f) Lift the mask requirement when employees are alone or in cubicles with a solid partition.
2. SOCIAL DISTANCING
To ensure that personnel, volunteers and guests comply with physical distancing requirements, we will:
a) Employ tape or signage to indicate proper distancing
b) Display signs to remind visitors to maintain distance
c) Ensure a minimum of 6 feet distance between personnel unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance. Members of the same household or living unit do not have to remain 6 feet apart from each other.
d) Require personnel who are less than 6 feet apart from one another to wear acceptable face coverings.
e) Ensure that, whenever possible, tightly confined spaces will be occupied by only one individual at a time.
f) Post social distancing markers using tape or signs that denote 6 feet of spacing in commonly used and other applicable areas on the site.
g) Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible.
h) Hold essential in-person gatherings in open, well ventilated spaces with appropriate social distancing among participants.
i) Establish designated areas for pick-ups and deliveries to limit contact to the greatest extent possible.
j) Discourage employees and visitors from congregating in high traffic areas such as bathrooms, hallways and common areas.
k) Assign appropriately distanced seating.
l) Establish one-way traffic patterns.
m) Use the utmost caution in the blocking and staging of productions to ensure the highest degree of safety for the performers.
n) Establish and maintain safely distanced seating in all dressing rooms used by performers.
o) Ensure that the first row of audience members is at least 6 feet distanced from all performers at all times.
p) Ensure that all productions are staged in such a manner that all performers are at least 6 feet distanced from audience members at all times during performances and are never permitted to cross into areas in the house where audience members are seated.
3. HEALTH CHECKS
To contain and protect our workforce and guests against COVID-19 we will:
a) Actively encourage sick employees to stay home and send sick employees home immediately.
b) Implement mandatory health screening assessments on all employees before such employees begin work each day. These screenings will consist of the group of questions recommended by the CDC and a temperature check. If any of the answers to the questions indicate a potential exposure to COVD-19 or if the temperature of the employee is 100.4 or higher, the employee will be sent home immediately.
c) Implement mandatory health screening assessments on all audience members before they are admitted to the venue. These screenings will consist of a group of questions recommended by the CDC to detect possible exposure to COVID-19 and a temperature check. If any answers to the questions indicate a potential exposure to the virus, the individual will be denied admittance to the theater and will be given a refund of the ticket price if necessary. If the individual has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be asked to remain outside for a period of 5 minutes, after which time their temperature will be retaken. If their temperature is still 100.4 degrees or higher, they will be denied admittance to the venue and given a refund of their ticket price.
d) Upstream Theater will establish and safely maintain all equipment, supplies, PPE, and materials to perform these health checks.
e) All company personnel who conduct these health screening procedures will have received appropriate training.
f) All health screening measures will be updated continuously in accord with new developments or changes in protocols recommended by the leading public health agencies such as the CDC.
4. CONTACT TRACING
To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus we will:
a) Maintain a continuous log of every person who may have close contact with other individuals at our venue, excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means.
b) Make every effort to collect contact information from all visitors and audience members.
c) Notify state and local health departments if a worker tests positive for COVID-19.
d) Cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts such as workers, visitors or audience members who had close contact with the affected individual, while at the same time maintaining required confidentiality.
e) If a worker tests positive, we will request that they assist Upstream Theater’s management in assembling a list of close contacts that individual may have had in order to inform them of their potential exposure while maintaining privacy and confidentiality.
5. CONTACTLESS EXPERIENCE
To embrace growing preference of touches, contactless environments and transactions we will:
a) Encourage advance sale, online ticket purchases.
b) Make certain that Plexiglass dividers are in place to protect both box office personnel, ticket purchasers, audience members and vendors in areas such as the box office and concessions.
c) Have a member of the House Management staff in place to open doors for audience members at all entrances.
d) Keep interior doors open.
6. REDUCED SEATING CAPACITY
To mitigate the effects of COVID-19 we will:
a) Reduce audience seating capacity in compliance with public health recommendations and mandates and accepted industry standards.
b) Use regulated, incrementally spaced seating of audience members.
c) Individually seat high risk audience members.
7. ENHANCED SANITATION AND HYGIENE
To ensure that recommended hygiene and cleaning procedures are in place we will:
a) Make certain that hand hygiene stations are provided and maintained especially in high touch or high volume areas.
b) Post signage to remind personnel and audience members to adhere to proper hygiene.
c) Coordinate with venue managers to conduct regular cleaning and disinfection.
d) Coordinate with venue managers to make sure that public restrooms are sanitized using EPA approved disinfectants.
e) Coordinate with venue managers to clean and disinfect contaminated areas in case of a positive case.
f) Coordinate with venue managers to maintain written cleaning logs documenting the date, time and scope of cleaning.
g) Adhere to all sanitation measures recommended by the CDC and other prominent public health agencies.
h) Consult and work with venue managers and owners to make sure that proper ventilation and maximum airflow are in place at all times during use of the space.
The Artistic Director and Managing Director of Upstream Theater have viewed the Missouri ArtSafe training video. Before production is recommenced, all personnel working on the production will be requested to view this video. Before production is recommenced, all Upstream personnel whose duties include the use or handling of health protection supplies, materials, equipment or PPE will be trained in the proper techniques of use and storage of such items. Before production is recommenced, all Upstream personnel, workers and volunteers who have direct contact with the public and who will be charged with oversight and implementation of these safety practices, will receive thorough training in best practices to assure compliance.
These safety measures will be available on: the Upstream Theater website at https://www.upstreamtheater.org and the Kranzberg Arts Foundation website at https://www.kranzbergartsfoundation.org.
The Upstream Theater COVID-19 Safety Plan will also be posted in the Kranzberg Art Foundation’s venues where the companies’ productions will be staged after the reopening of operations. We invite all audience members and Upstream patrons to provide comments and feedback at our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
These safety measures have been approved by the Upstream Theater Board of Directors.
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