Guidance On Covid-19 Re-Openings, Even If Only Virtually

If you are looking for advice on best practices for arts and cultural entities once they are allowed to re-open, Downtown Professionals Network (DPN) has created a website specifically focused on this topic called Reopen Main Street.  The advice is broken down by types of business so arts and culture has its own devoted section.

Since restrictions on public interactions vary across the country, there is guidance for both live and virtual events. The very first piece of advice is to create an environment that makes audiences feel secure.

Enhance your patron’s comfort level.

  • Make liberal use of signs, decals, placards, counter displays, etc. to communicate to customers the health and safety measures you are taking to keep employees and customers safe.
  • This can tie into an escalated district-wide awareness campaign promoting what businesses are doing to best ensure a clean, safe, and comfortable environment and experience.

The next bit of advice addresses partitioning your space for social distancing, use of signs to support that, and having plenty of sanitizing materials on hand for use by both audiences and employees.

Lest they be overlooked, DPN reminds you to take the time to make your employees/associated artists/volunteers feel secure as well since they are an important part of your operations and among the best advocates of your activities in all its current and future manifestations.

If your organization has a food service or retail component to it, there are sections of the site devoted to restaurants and retail.

Finally, there is a section of the site with advice for community leaders. If you haven’t taken a leadership role in your community yet, there are many reasons for stepping up to do so now. Among them is that you want to have input in shaping perceptions and practices for the next normal in your community rather than reacting to whatever environment emerges.

The community leadership section encourages action on things that can be directly or indirectly beneficial to arts organizations like friendlier parking, more space for pedestrian traffic and cafe seating, better way finding signage, promoting tourism, co-coordinating communications and information flow between local businesses. Even if your organization is located outside of a downtown or pedestrian heavy district, if potential audiences don’t have an optimistic view of your community that will impact their willingness to approach your doors so it behooves you to be involved and provide input.

Joe Patti
Joe Patti
In addition to writing for ArtHacker, I have been writing the blog, Butts in the Seats ( since 2004. I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. ( I am currently the Theater Manager for the Rialto Theater in Loveland, CO. Across my career I have worked as the Executive Director at The Grand Opera House in Macon, GA, at University of Hawaii-Leeward Community College, University of Central Florida, Asolo Theater, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Appel Farm Arts and Music Center and numerous other places both defunct and funky.
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