Re-opening Procedure after Covid-19

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Sep 22, 2018
Location
Florida
Our university just announced that we are fully expecting to re-open with students on campus this fall (Aug. 16th). I have been tasked with creating the procedure for we how will be able to support all of our normal orientation events in a "safe" manner. I have already come up with a list of PPE for our employees including masks, gloves, sanitizer etc. But I am wondering what sort of procedures and changes people are making in order to accommodate future events.

My building is 500 seats and as of right now we are working to come up with a new usher and house manager manual to direct groups to sit at a social distance, we are also working on the assumption that we will not be able to hold all 500 people, likely closer to 250 max, even down to 125 at a time (if we assume 25%). I have also been working with our reps to get information on sanitizing fog fluid to use overnight between events
( )
and other new releases that could benefit us during this situation. At this point, we are only trying to address FOH concerns as we don't have events that utilize the backstage areas until later in September.

Thanks in advance for everyone's input!
 

rsmentele

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I would love to see any laboratory findings as to the effectiveness of this solution. I haven't seen any yet.

Please post anything you find!
 
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Sep 22, 2018
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Florida
Attached is all of the information I have been sent by our reps, it looks like it has been approved on various things but we are just looking at it as a possible option in conjunction with a lot of other procedures. At this point, if it doesn't hurt, it's worth looking at right?
 

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sk8rsdad

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Attached is all of the information I have been sent by our reps
Thanks for the information. A quick perusal didn't find any results on effectiveness as an antiviral. The tests all seem to be as an antibacterial.

My $.02 on the "if it doesn't hurt" hypothesis include thoughts like:
  • does it instill a false sense of security?
  • does prolonged and/or repeated use lead to any damage to the people and/or surfaces to which it is applied?
 

egilson1

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Boston, MA
I would STRONGLY suggest you look into hiring an outside consultant to help created your procedure or delay until resources like the ESA release guidance. The liability fallout of an outbreak will be disastrous and at this point there is insufficient data for the average "user" to develop a reliable and effective plan. This is not in any way a comment on your personal ability or qualification, but rather that even the experts in public health crisis don't yet agree on what works.
 
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Location
Florida
I would STRONGLY suggest you look into hiring an outside consultant to help created your procedure or delay until resources like the ESA release guidance. The liability fallout of an outbreak will be disastrous and at this point there is insufficient data for the average "user" to develop a reliable and effective plan. This is not in any way a comment on your personal ability or qualification, but rather that even the experts in public health crisis don't yet agree on what works.
I don't want anyone to think I am in any way doing all of it on my own. As the building "expert" my job is to make building specific recommendations and recommendations to events, but my university has a task force of around 40 qualified internal and external experts who make the final decisions.

As I did not see any re-opening post COVID threads I wanted to start one to get people's opinions throughout the coming weeks/months.
 

mrtrudeau23

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Chicago, IL
The company my mom works for has been hiring a service to come in to clean the office via electrostatic disinfection. I don't know much about it, but this company's website has a decent explanation. Might be worth a look for large-scale theater cleaning.
 

Gobokat

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Chicago
Our university just announced that we are fully expecting to re-open with students on campus this fall (Aug. 16th). I have been tasked with creating the procedure for we how will be able to support all of our normal orientation events in a "safe" manner. At this point, we are only trying to address FOH concerns as we don't have events that utilize the backstage areas until later in September.

Thanks in advance for everyone's input!
I think your instinct to begin looking at capacity is a great way to start. If you have your auditorium on CAD try placing 6 foot diamter hexagons around seats and see how many seats/row and row/section you can use while maintaining the current 6 foot spacing recommendation. That will give you a sense of how many attendees you'll most likely be dealing with. Fun questions are of course how do you mark the seats clearly, and how do you deal with cohabiting couples who don't need to maintain these spacings, but then throw off the rest of the room's spacing?
Then as far as ushers you will of course be providing some level of masking and instructing them on the use of hand sanitizer between every time they touch anything and the next thing. Yes, they look at the ticket, they hand sanitize before they touch the next ticket, and so on. No, gloves aren't the answer unless they're being changed after each touch. the point is to stop spreading potential virus between patrons, so touching one person's ticket, then the next person's ticket just transferred between the tickets. Maybe this is a good time to go to scanners and bar codes?
And post event re-sterilization. . . what is the time between occupancy in the room? Over 72 hours you may not need to do much more than spray down arm rests and handrails, and door latches with a good (covid listed) disinfectant spray.
But what about your set up crew? they'll need to clean up after they set for the event and the presenters will need guidelines on the proper practice to avoid spreading among themselves.
The final point to consider is what will have to be done just to provide a sense of security even if it doesn't actually increase the odds against spreading the virus.

sorry - this is a lot to read through, I know, but at the moment I am finding for some reason I have a lot of time to type.
 

NJJerrySmith

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Wherever my current contract has me
Here's another example, using the Boston Philharmonic, looking at the realities and economics of opening back up while still social distancing.

https://www.middleclassartist.com/p...ience-attendance-is-the-least-of-our-problems

To quote the article
The following spatial and financial analysis will show that socially distancing a large concert hall would likely be a financial catastrophe for a presenter:
  • A 2,600-seat hall, under social distancing, may only seat fewer than 500.
  • If [Boston Pihilharmoic] audience attendance holds at 2018 numbers, only about 25% of the audience could fit in a socially-distanced symphony hall. That is a mandated drop of 75% in audience attendance, not even taking into account the public’s attitudes towards attending socially distanced performances.
  • To break-even with last year’s ticket revenue over the same number of concerts, based on the lowered attendance ceiling, a company would have to charge more than four times the price of last year’s tickets.
 
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JohnD

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Footer

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Personally, I think all this is a nice discussion... but just like all the restrants that are opening that are empty I think we'll be in the same boat. I don't see a world where people come to shows even with all this stuff in place. Shows will be more expensive to produce and make less money. One breakout traced back to a theatre and the whole thing is shot. We'll need legit guidance from government on this. In my state I think the guidance will be "stay closed". I would go at this the other way, write up what a "normal" day looks like, hand that to your public health expert, and see what they come back with.
 

macsound

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Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
I think the seating issue probably will be more about how people purchase tickets. If you get all groups of 2 it will layout differently than groups of 3,4,5, or 6.
Assuringly also, you won't be able to choose your exact seats, only the tier. A group a 6 may be more effectively laid out 3+3 in front of each other to better utilize the space, but the purchaser, phone rep and website wouldn't know that at the time or sale.
 

mrtrudeau23

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Chicago, IL
Investing in the ticket scanners is a good way to go. Doesn't require any passage of materials between ushers and patrons. Or some sort of online check-in when the patrons are at the theater? Also, since most everyone has a smart phone, a digital copy of the program for the show that people can read on their devices from a website, or setting up a projector in the house so patrons can view the program that way. I agree that seating is the largest issue. Dealing with couples and families throws the whole 6' distancing thing out the window as far as planning goes. I also agree with @Footer that one case traced back to a theater is going to shut it all down immediately for that area at the very least, but more likely everywhere. It will sadly be a long time before most people feel comfortable coming back to a theater, even with all these precautions in place.
 
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theatricalmatt

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New England
I don't know of any ticketing software that currently does this; but seat assignments don't have to be locked in until just before doors open. Patrons might be able to choose some specifics about their seating arrangement -- VIP, mezz, orchestra; aisle seating or ADA access for those with mobility issues -- but it's less important whether exact seat they're in. Rather than assign seats as patrons purchase them, develop a model based on best social distancing practices that then updates whenever tickets are purchased. The exact seating arrangement can be fluid until just before doors open. At the time of purchase, the patron only knows they have ticket #001408 for the show; when they arrive, an usher scans in their ticket and it gets translated into seat E-04.

The real challenge is that American theater culture is based around just-in-time or late arrivals. Student rush discounts are the norm for every theater I've worked for, as are late seating arrangements. Some theater companies have suggested assigned, staggered arrival times (to keep ticket and concession lines short), but that seems like a very strong shift in how people experience theater.
 

spenserh

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Sep 26, 2017
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Chatham, Ontario
My building is 500 seats and as of right now we are working to come up with a new usher and house manager manual to direct groups to sit at a social distance, we are also working on the assumption that we will not be able to hold all 500 people, likely closer to 250 max, even down to 125 at a time (if we assume 25%).
I think you might even be a bit high at 25%, we did a few different scenarios in our 1208-seat theatre and the highest number we could arrive at while maintaining a 6-foot space was 210, that works out to about 17%.
 

BillConnerFASTC

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Clayton NY 13624
I think you might even be a bit high at 25%, we did a few different scenarios in our 1208-seat theatre and the highest number we could arrive at while maintaining a 6-foot space was 210, that works out to about 17%.
Was that all individuals each 6' one from another or some groups of 2, 3, or 4? I assume start with every other row - usually 3' row to row - and then 4 empty seats between. It would be interesting to see how how large and obnoxious sneeze shields between some seats would be. Maybe a piece that attaches at the center of one intervening seat.

Do you have to maintain the 6' during ingress and egress? I assume so.

At least in NYS, the rule seems to suggest face masks when social distancing - 6' - is not possible. So can people sit closer than 6' from another group if they wear masks? (Could severely curtail alcohol sales even more.)
 

egilson1

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Boston, MA
small tidbit. If you are doing layout for maintaining a six foot distance between people, you should be using a 3' diameter circle (or what ever shape you prefer) and not a 6' diameter one. heck, if you want to get real nitty gritty, you might consider 3.5' to account for the fact that people are finally small like a dot in the middle of that circle. point being a 6' diameter circle would get you a 12' distance between two people.
 
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BillConnerFASTC

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Clayton NY 13624
And then there is the question is 6' really enough? Walking past someone (holding my breath) versus being seated and stationery for a period of time? Really the same distance? It's unfortunate there is some science missing in a lot of this. I seem to recall that at the beginning, face masks were somewhat discredited. That changed. (I feel quite safe when in my canoe, maybe a mile from anyone else.)