Arts organisations worldwide are working on their readiness and preparations for working through the current coronavirus crisis.
Art4u Australia has created an organisational checklist in regards to readiness for Covid-19 and this can be downloaded for free, without obligation by following this link.
Arts organisations have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of not only their employees and volunteers but also their audience members.
Many arts organisations rely upon ticket sales for 50% or more of their revenue and any disruption to their planned program represents a significant financial risk.
Basic hygiene processes are paramount in every environment. Within employee workplaces, within rehearsal environments and within actual performance venues. It is a responsibility of the arts organisation and venue management to ensure adequate hygiene facilities, including antiseptic handwash are available at all points of contact.
A key strategy for some arts organisations may be to implement a policy enabling customers to obtain a refund, donate their ticket price or transfer a purchase to a future event. This will go a long way towards encouraging patrons with symptoms, having spent their money, from attending and placing others at risk.
The potential for panic within public places remains high. These are emotional and uncertain times for the public and someone sneezing repeatedly during a performance may be sufficient to trigger a mass exodus by audience members.
Those arts organisations utilising public spaces, such as galleries or theatres managed by Government or local municipalities have the added risk that at any moment a decision may be made to cancel future events at those venues, in the interests of public safety.
Effective governance is paramount during this time. Management may quickly become overwhelmed by the additional burden this crisis may create. Boards should provide support to directors and senior management, implement effective reporting process that enable the board to make informed decisions, without imposing themselves unnecessarily upon daily operations.
Boards have an obligation to take a proactive approach to being informed, along with having an understanding of Covid-19, its implications and the potential impact upon their arts organisation. This is not a time for passive governance.
Many smaller arts organisations may not have the people and resources to manage this risk. One strategy is form partnerships with other, larger arts organisation, or may consider engaging John Coxon from Art4U Australia to assist. John has the operational experience to help you form a risk management plan and process.