Update: March 16, 2020
COVID 19 - Precautions For Your Event:
After weighing risk factors, such as whether there are reported cases in your area, CDC guidelines and local government recommendations, if you plan to proceed with your event, implement as many health and safety measures as possible:
- Extra washing stations with plenty of soap and running water.
- Extra hand sanitizer stations.
- Fever Screening if practical/possible under the conditions of your event. CrowdRx (https://www.crowdrx.org/fever-screening/) offers fever screenings. The cameras are thermal image screening systems that identify individuals with above normal body temperatures. The equipment is effective at temperatures of 86 degrees fahrenheit and below and it must be set up in the shade. The service includes tents to ensure the devices are shaded and an on-site physician for in-depth screenings to assess the threat level of an individual whose temperature is above normal limits. The mass screenings are set up for minimal impact on ingress.
- Follow CDC cleaning guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/home/cleaning-disinfection.html
- Prepare your patrons, sponsors and media for meet & greet cancellations.
Postponing or Cancelling:
- If you have held out as long as possible but your governmental authority has banned large groups at the time of your scheduled event, or a reasonable person would not hold the event, it might be time to postpone. Analyze whether postponing makes sense as opposed to cancelling. Contact your REG agent to see what options are available for rescheduling.
- Contact your Event Cancellation insurance carrier. While here have been notices that insurance carriers will not cover the COVID-19 pandemic under Event Cancellation insurance policies that were put in place after January, 2020, it is best to investigate the policy you have to know for certain. Do not pass up the opportunity to make a claim that could issue payment because of an assumption or generalization.
Current Bans on Mass Gatherings:
The following governmental authorities have banned mass gatherings:
- Alabama: recommendation postponing gatherings over 500 people. City officials in Montgomery prohibit the use of city employees including police for events over 500 people.
- Oregon: mandatory ban on all gatherings of more than 250 people statewide for the next 4 weeks (implemented 3/12/20)
- California: mandatory ban on mass gatherings of 250 people or more statewide until the end of March
- Ohio: mandatory ban on all gatherings of more than 100 people statewide
- Florida: recommended ban on any mass gatherings statewide over the next 30 days (implemented 3/12/20)
- New York: mandatory ban on all gatherings of 500 or more people statewide
- Washington: mandatory ban on all gatherings of 250 or more people statewide
- Washington DC: recommended ban on all non-essential mass gatherings of 1,000+ capacity through the end of March
How COVID-19 Spreads:
While the virus can spread before an infected person shows symptoms, it is most contagious when someone is symptomatic. It transmits from person to person (when people are within 6 feet of someone who is contagious) via respiratory droplets the body produces through coughing and sneezing and from surfaces containing the virus when it’s touched and then transmitted by face touching. Since person to person transmission is the most common method of how this virus spreads, most artists are cancelling meet & greets to avoid shaking hands with dozens of strangers at every event and putting themselves, their crew, fans, and event organizers at risk. For the time being, the safest course is to not plan on a meet & greet and wait to discuss the matter closer to show during the advance process.
Tips for keeping yourself healthy:
Take typical flu-season precautions: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Don't touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow and not with your hands. Stay home when sick. Clean (remove germs and dirt) and disinfect (chemically kill any possible remaining germs) household objects and surfaces, especially surfaces that are frequently touched like door knobs, phones and faucet handles. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If you are sick, prepare for a possible quarantine. Here's a shopping list of items you should consider to avoid leaving your home. If hand sanitizer is unavailable, here is a resource on how to make your own: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/03/04/hand-sanitizer-recipe-purell-shortage-2020-coronavirus-prevention/4947807002/And no, you don't need a face mask unless you have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. Buying up masks takes away precious materials from the health workers who need them most.
Issued: March 11, 2020
To all REG Clients and Industry Friends,
With cancellations of artists’ performing abroad, to domestic tour cancellations and event cancellations of the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the SXSW festival in Texas and the recent postponement of the Coachella and Stagecoach festivals, it is clear that our industry is going to experience a significant impact from the spread of COVID-19 commonly known as the novel coronavirus. Festivals and other live event gatherings are being faced with a difficult decision to postpone or cancel mass gatherings. Should you be concerned yet?
The answer is, yes, of course you should be concerned, but don’t overreact. Right now major events that draw people from all over the world seem to be the ones predominantly concerned about the virus. Evidence of this is that the Austin Rodeo is happening right now in the same city where SXSW was set to take place. However, I predict that as an industry we need to be prepared to endure some additional short term pain and cancellations before we will be able to get back on track for the busy summer concert season. I personally believe that the number of coronavirus cases is vastly underreported due to the lack of available testing kits. As these kits become more readily available we will likely see a spike in diagnosed cases of COVID-19 which will lead to the government taking the necessary actions needed to protect the elderly and those more susceptible to complications from the virus. As a result, these measures could include a complete lockdown and quarantine of travelers coming into and out of the country and even a halt to domestic travel and mass gatherings in infected areas in order to arrest the spread of the virus. This lockdown could last for weeks and likely will result in the cancellation or postponement of events across the country. I believe it is only a matter of time before we reach this tipping point and I pray that it happens sooner rather than later.
It is way too early to say that summer concerts and mass gatherings will need to be cancelled due to the outbreak. Instead every event needs to be in communication with their local and state governmental authorities about whether it is safe and prudent to proceed forward with their event. This will be an ongoing conversation that you should have already started and will need to continue until the completion of your event. If a governmental authority orders your event not to take place or deems it unsafe and prohibits a mass gathering both you and the artist would likely be released from your obligations under the “Force Majeure” provision of the REG addendums. I say likely because of course every invocation of the Force Majeure provision requires an analysis of the specific facts at play. It is important that you communicate what your governmental agency partners are telling you to your REG representative so that we can keep the artist and their team informed and work through every situation respectfully and conscientiously prior to any cancellation or postponement determination.
As we move forward preparation is key and having accurate information is essential. Right now and after we hit the tipping point, it will be necessary for you and your event teams to take extra precautions this concert season to protect event patrons. Increasing the number of sanitation stations, more frequent cleaning of public areas, and additional onsite precautions are recommended by the CDC. I recommend that you find a government source that you know you can trust and follow their updates. Do not panic and do not make rash decisions based on fear and unknown variables. We know the spread of the coronavirus is going to get worse before it gets better. The question now is how long will the government wait before stepping in and taking extraordinary, but necessary, measures to slow or stop the spread of the virus. Just today the WHO announced that the coronavirus is a pandemic but the course can be altered if countries “detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of novel coronavirus cases can prevent those cases from becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.”
Me and my team will continue to work diligently and monitor this situation as it progresses. We will provide periodic updates in the form of blog posts on our website www.romeoent.com. Thank you.
Romeo Entertainment Group