Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning on the spread of the coronavirus, saying, “it’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when.” Several municipalities, including San Francisco and San Diego, have declared a preemptive State of Emergency to be ready.
While the number of U.S. cases remains small, we know that an outbreak could have significant direct and indirect impacts on our field. Toward that end, we wanted to share some resources with you:
- The CDC has posted a central hub of updated information;
- They’ve also urged businesses to prepare an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response plan and are working on guides for community- and faith-based organizations and event planners of mass gatherings to use;
- They recommend staying in contact with state and local health agencies for location-specific guidance;
- The World Health Organization has shared a post on mass gatherings;
- ArtsReady has also shared this guidance to support arts organizations; including the importance of communicating with audiences and stakeholders; and
- Our friend and TCG board member Ellen Richard suggested theatres check with their insurance companies to see if they’re covered for closure due to “civil authority.” It may be too late to get coverage now, but if it’s already written into your policy, it will help with planning.
In addition to the immediate operational preparations theatres should take to protect our staff and communities, there are medium- and longer-term consequences to consider. How can theatres prepare for the economic uncertainty of a significant outbreak? What impact might an outbreak have on contributed income? What role can theatres play in supporting our communities before, during, and afterward? How can we be in solidarity with Chinese, Korean, and Asian American communities who are facing racist and xenophobic responses to this outbreak?
We are tracking all of these pieces, and, in addition to sharing the resources above, wanted to hear what would be of most use to you: an open video chat where theatres can share how they’re preparing and responding? A webinar with experts in preparedness? Please write back with how we can best support you and move in solidarity together, whatever may come.