A message from RISCA about COVID protocols for audiences

We thought it was over, but now it appears that a surge in COVID-19 cases may, once again, impact the return to arts programming in our state. From all of us at RISCA, we regret the impact this may have on you and your audiences, and will continue to provide you with information and support that you can use to address these challenges.

Recently a group of arts producers and presenters announced that they would reopen by following some strict guidelines designed to protect their audiences, their artists and staff. This cohort includes Festival Ballet Providence, Gamm Theatre, Island Moving Company, Providence Performing Arts Center, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School, Trinity Repertory Company, United Theatre, Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, and Wilbury Theatre Group.

This group has issued the following statement:

“Effective immediately and until further notice: All patrons attending in-person indoor events must either show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (at least 14 days have passed since the final dose), or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in the prior 72-hours, or proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken in the prior 6-hours. All patrons regardless of vaccination status must wear masks over their nose and mouth at all times while inside the venue (unless actively eating or drinking). Please visit the websites of the individual venues for any additional restrictions or details, particularly for children not yet eligible for vaccination. Details may be revisited or revised based on CDC guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic.”

We’re sharing this for your information. These are prudent measures, but they are NOT state mandates. You may choose to do more or less than what this group has described. Obviously, you are in the best position to know what you are capable of managing, and what is needed to keep you and your audiences satisfied that they are participating in an artistic experience that is safe and secure.

The last sentence of the statement above is key: “Details may be revisited or revised based on CDC guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic.” This is a fast-changing environment. Governor McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health, advised by the federal government and the CDC, may set new standards for public engagement that may require more stringent measures on the part of arts organizations. We will try and share that information with you as it becomes available. For now, if you have questions about managing audiences during the pandemic, please email Randall.Rosenbaum@arts.ri.gov and Todd.Trebour@arts.ri.gov. We will try and get answers from the state’s Department of Health for you.

For now, please stay well.

Statement from the Executive Director of the RI State Council on the Arts on today’s lifting of Covid-19 restrictions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Reopening-RI.pngRandall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the RI Council on the Arts (RISCA), released the following statement on today’s announcement by Governor Dan McKee to lift  most COVID-19 restrictions tomorrow (5/21/21) for those who have been fully vaccinated:

“After the most challenging year for the arts and culture community, today’s announcement means artists and cultural workers, who lost their livelihoods during the pandemic, can now return to playing their important role of enriching the lives of Rhode islanders. On behalf of the arts and culture community, we applaud and thank Governor McKee. We look forward to getting arts and culture organizations moving toward full capacity.

“During the pandemic, our world class arts sector saw theaters, concert halls, museums, performances, fairs and festivals grind to a halt. The shuttering of venues, concert halls and performance spaces had an overwhelming impact on our community. According to the latest data from the RI Department of Labor and Training, the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector lost 4,800 jobs between February 2020 and April 2020. From April 2020 through April 2021, 1,800 jobs have been recovered, but the sector is still down 3,000 jobs from February 2020.”

Rosenbaum added: “The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports that arts and cultural production accounts for $2.06 billion and 3.3 percent of the Rhode Island economy, contributing 18,215 jobs. *Arts and cultural ‘value added’ in Rhode Island ranks fourth behind, retail, construction and education services sectors.”

* Comparison industries are selected industry categories using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) drawn from BEA’s 2019 state level data for employment, full-time and part-time workers, compensation and value added by industry. The comparisons are not mutually exclusive—arts and culture include, for example, portions of other sectors such as construction and retail trade.