What To Look Out For In Safety Guidelines for In-Person Arts Events

While Boston is still early in Phase III of reopening, some arts and culture organizations have begun to open their doors or welcome audiences to outdoor spaces. Whether you’re thinking about an advance timed ticket to ICA Boston or attending a performance at the new Starlight Square outdoor venue in Central Square, it’s important to stay safe and follow all safety guidelines for these spaces as close as possible.

We’re outlining some of the key components to look out for when you’re preparing to visit a reopened arts space or outdoor venue. Be sure to read over safety guidelines and agreements with a critical eye. Have questions about what the experience is going to be like? Be proactive and reach out to the patron services teams that are working diligently to make your visit safe and enjoyable.

And if you do decide to venture out and purchase a ticket, it’s important to stick to safety protocols as strictly as you can. This is all part of the new normal, so as we continue to seek meaningful arts experiences to enrich our lives, remember that the top priority is to keep you, arts and culture workers, and fellow members of the community safe.

1) Masks

We know masks are a must when venturing out in public, and it’s important to keep your nose and mouth fully covered at all times. As you check out safety guidelines, take a look at how organizations are enforcing mask-wearing. Is eating or drinking allowed anywhere nearby? Are performers and employees required to wear masks? In most cases, that answer will be yes, but reading mask policies carefully will help ensure your experience will be safe from start to finish.

2) Social Distancing

Staying 6 feet (or more!) apart is another important element to our public safety. Organizations are doing a lot to limit capacity and keep attendees together in the pods with which they arrive, but be sure to remember that social distancing will have to take place in line, in restrooms, and anywhere else within the venue. Many facilities are using timed entry to avoid having groups congregate in lines, so be sure to keep an eye on the clock and arrive at your designated time! Think you might be late? Give the venue a call for a heads-up and further instructions for a safe arrival.

3) Hand-Washing

Frequent hand-washing is always a best practice, but when venturing out, it’s important to be prepared! Make sure to check to see if the venue is equipped with enough restrooms or hand-washing stations. And when in doubt, bring along some hand sanitizer as a backup, although some venues may ask you to avoid using sanitizers brought from home.

4) Cleaning Procedures

Has the venue you’re interested in attending laid out how they’re cleaning their facilities? Organizations have increased cleaning efforts to curb the spread of germs, but if they’ve indicated how their staffs are being trained to do so and with what frequency, that’s a great sign of a safe environment.

5) Contact Tracing

When making a reservation to attend an event, you will most likely be asked to give your contact information in order to aid in contact tracing efforts. In the best-case scenario, organizations won’t have to make use of it, but in the event that a case of COVID-19 is traced to their location, they will need to notify you, so that you can self-isolate and get tested. You can help make this process easier by knowing which email and phone number to provide for this purpose, and keeping an eye out for incoming messages. Not sure if they’re contact tracing where you’re headed? Ask in advance to be sure you’ll be aware of any case-related news.

6) Travel

Limiting interactions with others is crucial when you’re at the venue, but stepping outside can bring you into contact with a lot of people along the way. No matter how you’re choosing to get from Point A to Point B, it’s important to think through each step of your journey and be certain that you’re keeping others’ safe as you travel. The MBTA has outlined their safety procedures here, and if you’re using a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft, check out their guidelines as well before you request the ride.

Photo Credit: Marc Levy, Cambridge Day 

Elena Morris (she/her/hers) is ArtsBoston’s Community Outreach and Marketing Manager. She is a dramaturg and arts administrator passionate about forward thinking in the arts. Elena holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, focusing her studies on dramatic literature and movement. twitter-4-512 @elena_pearl
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