COVID STAFF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

This page will be maintained and updated with our most recent COVID-19 related policies and procedures for employees. All staff will also receive electronic communication of policy changes but please check back here for updates and announcements. Full safety plan can be viewed or downloaded below.

 

To sign up for weekly on-site testing:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1XjczODr4XWIITVaKEkwlS4VD4eX_cgsR-PoM3q2i87Y/edit#gid=40675863

 

To securely submit external test results CLICK HERE.

https://airtable.com/shrKBS8jndkI7Ogzx

 

If you are a current CSO looking to input on-site test results use the following form, CLICK HERE.

https://airtable.com/shrEKBUS371gPKgFo

 

For employees looking to become part of our CSO team, completion of one or more of the following certifications is required prior to beginning:

https://www.artsnscience.com/classes  Theatre Production & Live Performance – CCO Certificate & COVID Safety Training (Recommended/Preferred)

https://healtheducationservices.net/training/covid-19-compliance-officer-c19co/ COVID-19 Compliance Officer (CCO) Training – Health Education Services, Inc. (Alternative)

https://practicesafesets.co/certificate/ Safe Sets™️ COVID-19 Level A Certificate (Additional resource, not accepted on it’s own)

 

FOR CURRENT PATRON POLICIES CLICK HERE

 

For the purposes of this document, “employees” are defined as staff, interns, contractors, guest artists, volunteers, or anyone who is in the building doing a job (paid or unpaid). This does not include audience members or box office patrons.

FOR Internal COVID Safety Plan CLICK HERE

Color Clearances
Penobscot Theatre Company will utilize a color coded clearance system.

Clearance levels can/will change according to our production/performance schedule.  If an employee needs to change their clearance level please notify the lead CSO at least 1 week prior to the required first day to establish next steps.

GREEN: Those employees subjected to mandatory testing as outlined by AEA’s Safety Rider (require interaction with actors and stage managers).
Provides access to all rehearsal, performance, and in company spaces at all times

YELLOW: Those employees (regular staff, guest artists, ushers) who are fully vaccinated but not subjected to weekly testing.
Provides moderate access to company spaces during rehearsal and performance times

BLUE: Temporary day-time employees (volunteers, visitors, or guest artists) with very limited access. Not requiring disclosure of vaccination status being the primary determining factor between YELLOW and BLUE

COVID Compliance Officers  

Penobscot Theatre Company has established a wide group of certified COVID Safety Officers. (Further referenced in this document as “CSM” or “CSO”) For each production a Lead COVID Safety Manager and a quorum of no less than 4 Safety Officers will be identified. The Lead CSM will be responsible for the testing protocol and other duties will be distributed throughout the team. At least one CSO or CSM will be on premises at all times. 

Employee Training 

Prior to working in person, all employees must participate in a mandatory health and safety training run by the Covid Compliance officers addressing the following:

  1. hand hygiene 
  2. physical distancing guidelines and expectations 
  3. monitoring personal health 
  4. proper wear, removal, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 
  5. cleaning protocols, including how to safely and effectively use cleaning supplies

Daily Self-Screening & Contact Tracing

If you don’t feel well, don’t come to work. Please contact your supervisor and Lead CSM if you are feeling unwell to establish next steps.

All employees must log in & out of all company spaces with date, time, and current clearance level. The daily log is located just inside primary entrances. Once in performances, the regularly stationed call board for cast and crew will serve as their log and will include timestamps. If the company space being entered is one’s place of lodging they do not need to sign in. For contact tracing purposes it will be established that, because it is a place of residence, that individual will be treated as if always present in the space, regardless of actual comings and goings. 

 Masks 

People in the building, including employees and audience members, are expected to be wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times. There are rare instances when a mask may be removed such as eating and drinking; however, even in those instances those individuals must have a mask within reach in case they need to put it back on quickly. Masks must have two layers of fabric and cannot have a vent or be a gaiter/bandana style covering. PTC will have masks available at no cost for all employees.

The only exception to this rule is for those who are actively performing during rehearsal or performance. A mask must be worn by those individuals at all other times. 

Close Contact 

Penobscot Theatre Company will recognize and follow the CDC’s definition of close contact (or “interaction” as referenced in the AEA safety rider).

A close contact includes: 

  • Being within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 cumulative minutes or more over 24 hours
  • Providing care to someone who is sick with COVID-19 
  • Direct physical contact with an infectious person (ex: hugging/kissing)
  • Sharing eating or drinking utensils 
  • Being exposed to respiratory droplets from an infectious person (ex: sneezing/coughing)

Social Distancing 

For ease of contact tracing and effective clearance levels, we ask that all employees attempt to stay at least 6’ apart from each other (and other people) whenever possible. Following this guidance allows multiple clearance levels to work on premises simultaneously but in separate areas. See “RESTRICTED ACCESS” for further information.

Conduct Outside of Work 

We understand that people have a life outside of their work, but people’s conduct outside the office has the potential to gravely impact the entire company. We need to work as a team to keep us all safe. For this reason, we ask that all employees agree to follow CDC guidelines throughout their day to day lives. This includes but is not limited to wearing masks when interacting with people beyond those you live with, avoiding gatherings of large numbers of people not adhering to masking or physical distancing, and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others as much as possible. We also encourage taking advantage of free state rapid testing or keeping home testing kits available for friends, family, or other close contacts. Should an employee find themselves in a situation where they can not easily find access to testing and feel they require one (regardless of reason) please contact a CSO to make arrangements.

COVID Compliance Meetings 

At the beginning of each rehearsal process and before the start of the tech process there will be a meeting with a COVID Compliance Team to appoint a team lead and review the safety plan including any necessary updates and/or recent changes to CDC guidance. 

Following any positive test and/or for decisions regarding closures/cancelations a quorum of the COVID compliance team shall immediately meet to establish next steps by majority vote. A quorum shall be equal to 4 or more team members. This may be done in person or virtually. In the event of a closure/cancelation, the vote on what action to take must be unanimous.

Testing 

At the requirement of AEA, PTC will be testing the actors, stage managers, and anyone who comes in close contact with these individuals on a weekly basis on site, free of charge. Please use the “COVID TESTING SIGN UP” Google Sheet to sign up for testing times. Documentation of outside testing results will be accepted. If you anticipate needing to have a close interaction with an actor or a stage manager during a given week please notify a COVID Compliance Officer no less than 1 week in advance. Current employee clearance levels can be found in the sign up sheet and will be updated on a weekly basis.

 

Testing Procedure 

*Per AEA requirements, prior to the start of the following procedure, all employees requiring GREEN level clearance must receive a PCR test within 72 hours of their first interaction with actors or stage managers. Results of that test shall be submitted to the Lead CSM. 

All tests will be administered at the Bangor Opera House. Penobscot Theatre Company will be self administering FDA approved rapid antigen tests. 

Upon arrival of your testing time please report directly to the house right booth window to receive instruction from the on-duty CSM. Do not interact with any individuals or stop to sign in. Upon negative result clearance you will be instructed to then sign in and resume normal duties. Waiting areas will be established and clearly marked in the house to maintain appropriate social distancing while awaiting test results. 

If Someone Tests Positive for COVID 19 

With the number of people involved at PTC there is always going to be the chance that someone tests positive for COVID19. It does not mean that someone did anything wrong and shall not be treated with guilt or shame. The hope is that this safety plan has put in enough precautions so that if/when someone does test positive the company wide impact will be minimal and manageable. 

There are too many potential situations that could arise regarding who tests positive and who’ve they’ve recently interacted with for us to come up with all of the possible next steps in this plan. The quorum of CSOs will meet and establish appropriate next steps as governed by the AEA safety rider and current CDC guidance. Appropriate actions to take moving forward will be first relayed to the individual, second to any determined close contacts, and third to the entire staff. We will provide Maine CDC with data we have been collecting with regards to individuals at PTC to enable contact tracing and notifying appropriate agencies. 

If a positive test is taken during in house testing the individual will be asked to immediately leave for home or, if that is not possible (be it due to shared company housing, awaiting a ride, or any other reason) a holding area in the balcony will be created for them to comfortably await next steps. They will be asked to refrain from interacting with anyone directly and the CSO team will arrange for their needs. 

If PTC  is notified that an employee has tested positive outside of our internal testing, they will be contacted by a CSM for next steps and not be allowed to return to work until they’re cleared by our medical advisors.

PTC  will not be announcing who has tested positive without that person’s permission. We or the Maine CDC will notify people that they may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive, but we will not name the individual. 

 

Communication & Information Distribution

As regulations and guidance are ever evolving this information may be updated or altered at any time. Should that happen, all individuals will be sent and briefed on the new procol by a member of the CSO team or Penobscot Theatre Company Administration.

Due to the time sensitive nature of information distribution, if someone tests positive all impacted employees will be notified via text/phone AND email. The greater employee base will be notified via email. All will be given directions as to next steps. The Lead CSO will be responsible for overseeing communication.

In the event of a closure or cancelation, the Box Office/Front of House will handle patron communication and the CSO team will work with Stage Management and PTC Administration on establishing appropriate next steps and further information distribution. 

 

COMPANY SPACES 

Penobscot Theater Company owns or maintains the following properties. This protocol shall govern all of the following buildings:

  • The Bangor Opera House
  • 51 Main St
  • The Firehouse (14 Griffin Rd.)
    • Contains Scene Shop, Costume Shop, and company housing
  • Grove St. House
    • Guest Artist housing

HVAC/Ventilation

PTC  is working with professionals to assess the efficiency of our HVAC system and airflow in all of our spaces. To achieve adequate ventilation in the short term, we are providing HEPA level air purification in all small, enclosed, and less ventilated spaces.

Rehearsal Room and Backstage Spaces 

We are trying to limit unnecessary interactions between employees as much as possible. For this reason there will be parts of the building blocked off to employees when certain activities are taking place. 

– Starting 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of rehearsal there will be no employees allowed in the rehearsal area other than those who have been given specific approval. (GREEN level clearance.) There will be a sign placed at area entrances to indicate when these restrictions are in effect. 

– Starting 30 minutes prior to the start of a performance there will be no employees allowed onstage, backstage, in dressing rooms, or in the tech booth other than those who have been given specific approval. (GREEN level clearance.) There will be a sign placed at entrances to indicate when these restrictions are in effect. 

 

Entrances and Exits 

During rehearsals and daily duties, employees are encouraged to enter and exit the Bangor Opera House through the furthest uphill most set of doors (the accessible entrance). Inside that entrance will be a hand sanitation station and entrance/exit log.
During performances, cast and crew are encouraged to enter through the back door of the dressing rooms, by the dumpsters and small parking lot. Hand sanitation and performance call board will be just inside the dressing rooms.
Patrons will be utilizing the front door to the building. 

Masks will also be available at all entrances stations for those who need one. We request that, even if planning to use a new mask upon arrival, that you wear a mask while entering and exiting the building. 

 

Cleaning 

Penobscot Theatre Company will follow current CDC guidance on cleaning and sanitation of all our spaces. This includes but is not limited to: sanitation of high touch surfaces and objects, amplified restroom and kitchen cleaning, and providing sanitation stations throughout the buildings. 

During rehearsals and performances a CSO will be responsible for regularly performing these duties as applicable.

 

PRODUCTION & PERFORMANCES

Performance in Relation with Audience 

The design of the set and performance Direction will be such that the playing space will be no closer than 6’ from any audience member. There will be no audience interaction or talk backs per AEA safety rider.

Restricted Rehearsal Access 

Starting 30 minutes before the scheduled start of rehearsal and ending at 30 minutes after the scheduled end of rehearsal, the rehearsal area of the building will be closed off to non GREEN level employees. There will be signage indicating these restrictions posted at all entrances to the rehearsal room area.

These restrictions also include the second floor bathroom/kitchenette, stage management office, and vestibule/landing outside the rehearsal room. 

Cleaning Breaks 

Each break will be extended by at least 3 minutes to allow time for those in the room to clean their hands and for the CSO to disinfect applicable spaces and objects. The Stage Management team will also be assessing which rehearsal items will require regular disinfecting and relay applicable information to the CSO team to ensure they are cleaned at the start of each day and during each break. 

Designer Run 

Because the designer run takes place a week prior to tech, it will be open to YELLOW level and higher. Actors will stay onstage while production staff, designers, run crew, etc. will sit spread out in the audience. A COVID Compliance Officer will watch the Designer Run to ensure no close contact between clearance levels and the 6’ rule is met. 

Appropriate clearance changes will be implemented prior to the start of tech so that the room is GREEN.This doesn’t need to be requested – the clearance list will automatically be updated and appropriate individuals will be contacted.

Tech Rehearsals 

Because technical rehearsals require greater flexibility and a collaborative environment, all individuals must obtain GREEN level clearance to enter the house and/or stage area. Employees may move freely between the stage and house but limiting crossover and maintaining social distance as much as possible is encouraged. We recognize that this stage of the process will involve heavier production team and actor interaction.

Run Crew 

Run Crew (any additional performance staff such as backstage crew, board operators, spot light operators, and wardrobe crew) will be subject to testing protocol and receive GREEN clearance, as interacting with actors and stage managers is critical to their duties.
Run Crew members are expected to sign in and out and wear face coverings while in the building, just like everyone else. If the decision is made for a Run Crew member to be visible to the audience they may be asked to remove their face covering while performing. This is something that will be discussed in advance and in conjunction with anyone they may be interacting with while their face is uncovered. 

As with all employees we are encouraging people to think about their surroundings and what items they are interacting with that others are also interacting with. There may be props or costume pieces that run crew members are being asked to hand off to actors. We ask that we first consider if it’s possible to not physically hand the item but rather have someone pick it up from a table, and also to make sure to regularly disinfect/sanitize items that are shared between multiple people. CSOs will be available to advise during the process.

Restricted Performance Access 

As stated above, starting 30 minutes prior to the start of a performance there will be no one other than performance employees (GREEN level clearance) allowed onstage, backstage, in the dressing rooms or in the tech booth.

There will be signage in all appropriate areas to indicate when these restrictions are in effect. The signage will also indicate that no visitors or patrons are allowed in these areas at ANY time. Actors will be encouraged to remain in the dressing room area leading up to the start of each show and that interacting with the audience post-show is not permitted. 

Limiting Front of House Interaction 

We will be limiting the number of employees that are interacting with the audience. Employees that do not work with Front of House duties will be discouraged from entering the public spaces (lobby, audience, etc.) while patrons are in the building. Stage Management and House Management should communicate electronically as much as possible. Dedicated handheld radios will be provided separate from production intercom. 

Opening Night 

At this time we do not have plans for an “Opening Night Party”. There will likely be something done privately to celebrate the hard work we have all put into making the show but the way we celebrate will need to be adjusted. Further information will be distributed.

 

FAQ

What if I came in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID19? 

Because we are a fully vaccinated company, you may receive a rapid test upon arrival and attend regularly scheduled work or rehearsal but remain masked and socially distant. You will be tested again 3 days following exposure to gain clearance to resume normal practices.

What if I test positive for COVID19? 

You will receive immediate guidance from a COVID Safety Officer. This will include additional confirmatory testing, and will not be allowed to return to work until cleared by a medical professional. Clearance typically requires the following:

  • You have had a negative test for COVID 
  • You have had no fever for 24 hours 
  • AND it has been 10 days from your onset of symptoms 
  • AND your symptoms have improved. 

For further information see “If Someone Tests Positive for COVID 19” above.

 

What if I test positive but I have no symptoms? 

You will receive immediate guidance from a COVID Safety Officer. This will include additional confirmatory testing, and you will not be allowed to return to work until cleared by a medical professional. Asymptomatic clearance may require less isolation but is not guaranteed.

What if I don’t feel well, but it’s probably not COVID? 

Call the CSO and you’ll be scheduled for a rapid test potentially outside of our regular testing. We encourage all employees to work from home or stay home to rest if not feeling well.

 

FOR CLARIFICATION, QUESTIONS, CONCERNS, OR GRIEVANCES PLEASE CONTACT TRICIA, JEN, OR ANY ASSIGNED COVID SAFETY OFFICER

Tricia A. Hobbs: tricia@penobscottheatre.org (207) 447-1616

Jen Shepard: jen@penobscottheatre.org (207) 266-9387

Box Office (for other CSOs): boxoffice@penobscottheatre.org (207) 942-3333

 

 

To leave anonymous feedback please use the following form:

https://airtable.com/shrhFiHAy4Of0kUDx