Coronavirus Update for the Arts Community

Updated: MARCH 31, 2020
Governor Charlie Baker extended both the emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities and the related Stay at Home Advisory to May 4, 2020.
Updated: March 24, 2020
On Tuesday, Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon. Governor Baker also issued a Stay-at-Home Advisory to all individuals in the Commonwealth (excluding those providing essential services).
Updated: March 16, 2020

On Sunday, Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6.

Updated: March 13, 2020

On Friday, Governor Baker issued a ban of public gatherings larger than 250 people. We know many of you had already made difficult decisions to take action to protect public welfare, so although this is challenging news, it is good to have the clarity to help us move forward.

We believe that the arts are essential to daily life, integral to who we are as a region, and spur economic vitality for all. Building community, connecting with others, being joyful, and working towards a more equitable and inclusive world is what the arts and cultural sector do best. And we now find ourselves facing a new reality of having to collectively reimagine how to fulfill our missions and take care of our communities during the rapidly changing and uncertain dynamics of this unprecedented time.

Please know we see you, we hear you and are here for you.

Over the last week, we’ve been in communication with our local, regional, and national partners to coordinate responses and share resources.

Here are a few things we want you to know:

Where to Go For What

We are all processing a lot of information in real-time right now and are grateful to have access to a variety of useful resources online. To help simplify, we want to point to the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), which include fact sheets, social justice, and inclusion resources and emergency grant opportunities.

Immediate Technical Support

On Thursday, March 19, at 3 pm the MCC will host a webinar to share the best advice available on how to manage our organizations during this crisis, including colleagues at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC). REGISTER HERE to join the conversation. It will also be recorded and posted online.

Economic Relief

MASSCreative is leading the advocacy work for state support and is also our lead in working with Americans for the Arts for federal funding. Philanthropy, Massachusetts is in conversation with local arts funders regarding additional support. So more to come on this important work.

The Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture is working hard to support individual artists whose work and COVID-19 is negatively impacting incomes. Its Opportunity Fund has been turned into the Boston Artist Relief Fund, where individual artists living in Boston can apply for $500 or $1,000 grants through June 30.

How You Can Help

We need your help in making the case with data. The MA Cultural Data Group (a local cohort of arts organizations that work with cultural data) is developing a plan to consolidate the requests for information. Right now, we encourage all arts organizations to take this survey by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and Philanthropy Massachusetts on the experiences of nonprofits and the steps they are taking to address the coronavirus.

From an ArtsBoston operations standpoint, here are a few updates:

Working remotely: As of March 13, 2020, we have canceled all in-person member events and gatherings hosted by ArtsBoston. The BosTix Booths in Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Copley Square are closed to the public through May 10, 2020. All staff will work remotely through this time.

ArtsBoston Customer Service: We will continue to provide email and phone support to the arts audiences of our region. In addition to delivering BosTix customer support, our goal is to be a resource for the arts-loving public to provide clear, consistent and correct information about schedule changes, encourage donations, and reinforce that we are here for them.

BosTix / ArtsBoston Calendar: Our websites will remain a resource to the community and we will continue to monitor and update event listings to the best of our ability. We are suspending our regular email and social media promotion of events and deals in the short term. We are developing a communications plan to showcase stories from our community, live-streaming events, and other bright spots.

With the evolving updates on COVID-19, our priority remains to keep our community safe and healthy, and are following the guidance provided by the City of Boston, the Centers for Disease Control and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. We are supporting collective civic efforts of taking preventative steps now to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 for the well-being and welfare of our community.

And when the time comes, it will be essential to have a united voice inviting folks back. We are looking forward to that day and working with all of you!

I cannot express my gratitude enough for you all. Many of you have reached out to our team with messages of support and what you need for help. Keep reaching out, and we’ll do the same. The more information we have, the more effective we can be in advocating on your behalf. Contact us.

Take care of yourselves, support each other, and spend time with family and friends. We are going to get through this.


Original Post: March 5, 2020

ArtsBoston has been in close communications with the City, State and the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau about the recent concerns surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19. The risk to residents in Massachusetts remains low, but we wanted to share the following information to help our arts and cultural community be best prepared for any changes.


Here’s What You Should Know

  • Stay informed by following local updates on the State of Massachusetts website, including travel restrictions for artists and staff.
  • Encourage prevention by washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if sick.
  • Review insurance coverage for loss of revenue, disruption of service, etc. (consult with counsel, not just with the insurance provider, on what is covered).
  • Talk with staff and develop a contingency plan in case of the need for temporary closure. Review cancellation and work stoppage policies, test your contact tree, ensure you have an up-to-date facility shut-down protocol.
  • Put additional hand-sanitizing stations in the lobby, theatre spaces and bathrooms, and make wipes available for people to use on armrests (if the surface is wood or metal)
  • Inform all staff and volunteers to limit contact with audience members, for example, look at the tickets rather than taking them and handing them back
  • To help stop the spread of misinformation, visit CDC’s webpageShare the Facts, Stop Fear.
  • The City of Boston has developed Coronavirus fact sheets in 5 languages other than English, including Chinese, Haitian Creole, Spanish, Vietnamese and Portuguese.

Additional resources are at the ArtsReady/National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness and Response Alert.


Recent Posts

Leave a Comment