Additional COVID-19 Guidance For Performing Arts
Speak with your area Public Health Inspector if you have any questions, or call our helpline at 519-258-2146 ext. 4475.
*This information is subject to change and is current as of April 8, 2021
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The following guidance is intended to help with clarification of general public health measures as mandated in Ontario Regulation 263/20 Rules for Areas in Stage 2 and described in the COVID-19 Response Framework for a business or place where concerts, artistic events, theatrical performances or other performances are rehearsed or performed.
Performing Arts Facilities are also required to follow existing worker health and safety requirements as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, and any other relevant requirements as outlined in policies and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.
Visit WECHU’s Local Pandemic Status page for updates on Windsor-Essex’s status level, links to provincial guidance, and a summary of current provincial requirements and local enhanced measures.
COVID-19 Response Framework Measures
- Closed to spectators
- Rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted, with restrictions such as:
- Performers and employees must maintain 2 metres physical distance except for the purposes of the performance
- Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by Plexiglas or other impermeable barrier.
- Drive-in performances permitted
- Safety plan available upon request
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit – Specific Enhanced Measures
Managing & Reporting COVID-19 Outbreaks in the Workplace
The Managing COVID-19 in the Workplace: Guidance for Employers, Owners, and Operators provides guidance for businesses and workplaces to appropriately manage employees who have either tested positive for COVID-19, been identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive case of COVID-19, or experiencing symptoms without any known exposure to COVID-19.
Reporting Workplace Outbreaks
The ‘Reporting Workplace Outbreaks to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit: Guidance for Employers, Business Owners, & Operators’ provides information for employers to understand their roles in a suspected workplace outbreak, their responsibility to notify the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) about COVID-19 cases in the workplace, and how workplace outbreak information will be disclosed to the public.
Return to Work Timelines
The COVID-19 Decision Guide for Workplaces provides details on return to work guidelines for employees based on their level of exposure to COVID-19 (i.e., high or low risk contact), the results of their COVID-19 test, and the severity of symptoms from COVID-19. For additional information, you may also review the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 self-isolation and return to work webpage.
COVID-19 Safety Plan
When public health unit regions return to the framework, all businesses must have safety plans, no matter their colour-coded zone. Visit the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan Requirements webpage for details and templates for download.
Non-Medical Face Masks, Face Coverings, and Eye Protection
Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open mandates the wearing of face coverings in indoor public places and workplaces. Municipalities and organizations have created further regulations through the development of face-covering policies. Several local municipalities have included further spaces where masks are required by passing by-laws.
Learn about the proper use, removal and disposal of non-medical face masks.
- Face Coverings and Face Masks (Government of Ontario)
- WECHU How to Safely Wear a Mask (multiple languages)
- How to Safely Use a Non-Medical Mask or Face Covering (Public Health Agency of Canada)
- Face masks are required to be worn by all staff and performing arts patrons, except while sitting and eating or drinking or while playing a wind or brass instrument.
- In addition to wearing a non-medical face mask or face covering, staff in workplaces that come within 2 metres of customers who are not wearing a non-medical mask or face covering (for example, if staff are serving food or drink in a food service area to seated customers who have removed their mask to eat and drink) must wear eye protection. These items should be labelled with staff names and should not be shared. Review our fact sheet on approved eye protection for staff.
- The wearing of a face mask or eye protection does not replace other important public health measures, such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve and staying home when feeling ill.
Signage and Screening
- Every patron/customer/staff member that enters the facility/workplace must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors. There are two different types of screening:
- Passive screening: people assess their own risk factors and make the decision themselves. Post clear signage at all entrances with screening questions and instructions. If active screening of patrons entering a facility is not possible (for example, public transit, grocery stores), post signage instructing people with symptoms not to enter. Note: for retail stores, screening is only required at entrance to shopping malls, and not individual stores.
- Active screening: an employer ensures that the information is collected and reviewed to determine whether a person may enter the workplace. Actively screen staff using the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces. This includes workers, volunteers, suppliers, and contractors.
- Post signage at entrances and throughout the facility that clearly communicates procedures for physical distancing between staff and patrons. This include posters and floor markings such as instructional tape/stickers that direct the flow of people waiting for services, including any waiting areas such as concessions and ticket stands. Examples of signage can be found in the Resources & Signage section of the WECHU website.
- Post signage to communicate entry procedures such as hand sanitizing, sneeze and cough etiquette, wearing of cloth masks, and/or screening for symptoms.
- For regions in the “Yellow-Protect” level or higher, the person responsible for the performing arts facility must:
- Record the name and contact information of every member of the public who enters the facility. Use this Contact Tracing Form as an example for record keeping.
- Maintain the records for a period of at least one month (30 days).
- Only disclose the records to a Medical Officer of Health or an Inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request for a purpose specified in section 2 of that Act or as otherwise required by law.
- Ensure employees and performers are aware of common COVID-19 symptoms and in addition to active screening upon arrival, instruct them to complete a daily provincial screening tool for workplaces before reporting to the facility.
- Provide training to employees and performers on effective hand hygiene practices and if required, the proper way to put on and remove PPE such as masks, face shields, gowns, and gloves.
- Every performer and other person who provides work for the business or place must maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from every other person, except,
- if it is necessary for the purposes of the performance or rehearsal that the performers or persons who provide work for the business or place must be closer to each other
- where necessary for the purposes of purchasing of admission, food or beverages
- where necessary for the purposes of health and safety
- Closing every other stall, sink, or urinal in washrooms;
- While performing, singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other musicians or individuals by an impermeable barrier (e.g. Plexiglas)
- For barriers in areas where people are standing, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest patron or employee, which would be at least 2 metres (79 inches) from the ground.
- For barriers in areas where people are sitting, ensure the top of the barrier is 15 cm above the top of the head of the tallest seated patron or employee, which would be at least 1.46 metres (58 inches) from the ground.
General Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of auditoriums, including seats, handrails, and children’s booster seats between performances.
- Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces in common spaces, such as washrooms, lobbies, and concessions/guest services. The surfaces most likely to become contaminated include door handles, handrails, toilet and faucet handles, counters, pin pads, and touch screens. Refer to Public Health Ontario’s (PHO) Environmental Cleaning fact sheet.
- Ensure hand washing facilities are available and in good working order.
- Ensure there is always sufficient supply of approved disinfecting solution or wipes, and an alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) with a minimum of 60% alcohol content, liquid hand soap, and paper towels. These should be easily accessible to employees.
- Provide additional garbage bins for safe disposal of used masks, tissues, and paper towels and wipes.