Preparing for Potential Impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

*UPDATE: We are using new link for our latest updates. Please visit this link for our most up-to-date resources and information on COVID-19.

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Chorus America is tracking news and collecting information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) from our members and partners. While the spread and impact of the virus is not fully known, we encourage choruses to prepare for how the situation might affect your organization and any upcoming events. 

Please keep us posted on how the situation is affecting your chorus by emailing us at membership@chorusamerica.org or sharing your experiences and thoughts on this Facebook post. We'll continue to share updates and resources on an ongoing basis.

COVID-19 and Congressional Action

Chorus America is working with our advocacy partners to stay on top of the latest developments as the federal government enacts new forms of relief. See below for updates and advocacy alerts.

As this legislation passes, and as guidelines for implementation are then developed, we will also provide details on how choruses and choral artists can apply for this relief. Your elected officials will likely be key partners in helping you to gain access to any relief available, so we urge you to help build and strengthen those relationships now.

How is COVID-19 Affecting Your Chorus?

We've created a Google Form that choruses can use to share how their events are impacted by COVID-19, and see how others are being affected as well. Choruses are also sharing resources and communications examples in the resulting spreadsheet.

You can also keep us posted on how the situation is affecting your chorus by emailing us at membership@chorusamerica.org or sharing your experiences and thoughts on this Facebook post. We'll continue to share updates and resources on an ongoing basis.

Monitoring the Situation

This is a developing situation that is currently affecting different communities in different ways. In addition to monitoring information from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s important to check your state and local health agencies for guidance specific to your location.

Keeping Singers, Staff, and Audience Members Healthy

Encourage your organization’s stakeholders to follow the CDC’s guidelines for basic individual prevention measures. Emphasize to singers that they should stay away from rehearsals or performances if they are sick, and brainstorm ways that they can stay connected with the ensemble even if they aren’t there in person. We’ve heard of choruses encouraging singers who can’t be there in person to use Facebook Live to join in!

At concerts and events, encourage staff and volunteers to limit contact with audience members (looking at tickets rather than taking them and handing them back, for example). Again, depending on the situation in your area, consider additional measures like providing hand sanitizer for attendees, and using wipes on wood or metal armrests.

Planning Around Performances and Events

If your organization does have to change or cancel a performance or event, do you have a sense of what the financial impact would be? Now is a good time to review agreements with venues and artists and ask questions about what would happen if you needed to reschedule or cancel. Consider revisiting your budget and creating a scenario for lower than usual ticket sales in case people stay away out of concern over illness. If you have a fundraising event or gala on the horizon, think about how you might implement an alternative plan if necessary (turning a live auction into an online auction, for example).

Review your organization’s ticket refund policy. Based on the developing situation in your area, you might want to consider extending your policy or temporarily making it more flexible to encourage sick people to stay home. In any case, you’ll want to have it readily visibile for potential ticket buyers.

Make a plan for communicating any changes to your staff, singers, volunteers, and board members. A contact tree makes sure that everyone is notified. Group text messages can be very effective for this purpose.

Make a plan for communicating any changes to your audience members. And, based on the developing situation in your area, consider being proactive about communicating with your audiences even if you are not yet making any changes. You might want to send a message letting audiences know what you are doing to monitor the situation, what your refund policy is, and how you will communicate any changes in the event that that become necessary.

What To Do in the Event of a Cancellation or Postponement

Post from Chorus Connection with a thorough guide of options

Post from iCadenza on actions you can take in the midst of uncertainty

Example Statements from Choruses

Statement from Seattle Pro Musica about postponing its March 7 and 8 concerts

Statement from The Thirteen about assessing exposure risk

Choruses with NEA Funded Programs

The NEA understands and is concerned about the difficult situation facing performing arts groups and will work with grantees to resolve questions about cancellations or postponements of concerts and other programs. On March 12, the NEA released this set of FAQs for applicants and awardees. In short: Call or send an email to your program officer to let them know your situation. They will work with you to address time extensions or project scope changes.

Additional Resources

ArtsReady, an online emergency preparedness service by and for arts/cultural nonprofits, has helpful information on its homepage about preparing for the coronavirus, including some information about reviewing your insurance policies.

The Event Safety Alliance hosted a March 4 webinar outlining eight steps that should be taken by organizations that host public events.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidance to help businesses and employers and are working to produce planning guides for COVID-19 that community-based organizations can use.

We hosted a March 11 Facebook Live interview on artistic contingency planning with the Choral Arts Society of Washington.

Chorus Connection and GALA Choruses have written posts on COVID-19 preparation tips.

Choruses have found the Performing Arts Website helpful in developing emergency plans, particularly the site's financial losses calculator.

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