With Broadway staying dark for the rest of 2020, the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has released COVID-19 safety guidelines for members working in theaters and live performance venues.
Those guidelines include limiting the duration of workdays and excessive consecutive workdays whenever possible; extending turnaround times whenever possible to ensure that workers remain healthy and receive adequate rest; staggered start and call times to limit the number of workers in the venue at any one time; employing COVID-19 compliance officers; diagnostic testing of workers; and paid sick leave for workers.
“Physical contact should be avoided, including shaking hands, ‘high fives,’ fist or elbow bumps, or hugging,” one of the guidelines said.
IATSE said Wednesday that its stagecraft department collaborated with local union officers from stage, wardrobe, treasurer’s and ticket sellers, front of house, make-up artists and hairstylists, and designers locals in the United States and Canada.
“Despite being 27 pages long, the released document is intended to only provide general information, and not as a comprehensive or exhaustive treatment, legal advice, or a legal opinion,” the union said. “The health and safety of crew/employees and cast and general public are the highest priority. Re-opening the industry and returning to work are also significant and important priorities.”
IATSE’s Stagecraft Safety Committee guidelines said venues must have a written COVID-19 safety plan in place that specifies necessary policies, practices and procedures.
“In multi-employer venues there must be a process for coordinating activities related to prevention and control of Covid-19,” the union said. “In advance of reopening in any setting,local public health authorities should be notified and proper liaison to that authority should be established. All COVID-19 prevention and control measures must be consistent with federal state and local public health guidelines”
The move come three weeks after the Broadway League announced that Broadway will remain dark through the rest of the year, prolonging the shutdowns that began in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the longest period of time that theaters have been closed.