Meeting Your Legal Duty Of Care In Post-Covid Reopening


By: Joe Patti

In: Arts Admin, Customer Service, Legal, Marketing & Communications, Messaging & Content, PR & Media, Staff Training, Volunteering

In another post, we had shared some general guidance provided by the Downtown Professionals Network for re-opening arts and cultural venues as Covid-19 restrictions ease up. The Event Safety Alliance, which is comprised of over 300 professionals from live event venues of all sizes, has recently issued a Reopening Guide that provides much more detailed guidance in this regard. While it is focused on live events, a great deal of the content is applicable to any organization that has people physically present in their spaces.

The guide isn’t meant to be exhaustive and cover every possibility, rather it approaches the question of re-opening with the goal of helping an organization meet its legal duty of care:

“As a matter of common law, everyone has a duty to behave reasonably under their own circumstances.  Consequently, there is no such thing as ‘best’ practices.  There are only practices that are reasonable for this venue, this event, this crowd, this time and place, during this pandemic.  Because few operational bright lines would make sense, The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide is designed to help event professionals think through their own circumstances.  In the order than one plans an event, the Reopening Guide looks closely at the health and safety risks involved in reopening public spaces, then proposes risk mitigation measures that are likely to be reasonable under the circumstances of the smaller events and venues that will reopen first.”

The guide is roughly organized along a re-opening timeline: communicating to audiences about what their experience will be, testing staff and preparing them for the new operating procedures, thinking about all the places you need to sanitize, then executing your plan effectively as people are moving in and out of your front and back doors in the run up to an event.

The guide is about 27 pages long, but the procedures are contained in the first 20 pages and there is a lot to consider packed in there. The remaining pages list the members of the alliance, resources for additional reading and drafts of some forms you might want to use.

Knowing that plans only remain intact up to the moment they implemented, the Event Safety Alliance has a form available to suggest revisions for future editions as well as to ask questions.

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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