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Arts and culture: Protocols for returning to operation

These protocols provide guidance to museums, art galleries, libraries, and movie theatres. These employers may also benefit from reviewing other protocols if their workplace includes other work environments such as office space, retail services, or food and drink services. Employers must also ensure they are abiding by any orders, notices, or guidance issued by the provincial health officer, and the appropriate health authority, that are relevant to their workplace.

What’s new: Gatherings and events order

The November 10, 2020 version of the public health officer’s Gatherings and Events order identifies movies, theatrical, and dance entertainment as events that are subject to this order. Owners and operators of venues delivering these types of events must ensure that they have reviewed and are following the requirements of this order.

 

Developing a COVID-19 safety plan

Employers are required to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies, guidelines, and procedures they have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Employers must involve frontline workers, joint health and safety committees, and supervisors in identifying protocols for their workplace.

The COVID-19 Safety Plan follows the six steps outlined on COVID-19 and returning to safe operation. You can also refer to the COVID-19 Safety Plan OHS Guideline for information about developing a safety plan, including the level of detail required and use of supporting documentation.

Employers are not required to submit plans to WorkSafeBC for approval, but in accordance with the order of the provincial health officer, this plan must be posted at the worksite and on their website, if they have one. During a WorkSafeBC inspection, we will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers and to see their plan.

One part of developing your COVID-19 Safety Plan is identifying protocols that everyone at the workplace must follow to keep workers safe. We’ve provided industry-specific protocols below to consider as you develop the plan for your workplace.

These protocols are not a list of requirements; however, they should be considered and implemented to the extent that they address the risks your workplace. You may need to identify and implement additional protocols if the protocols suggested here do not sufficiently address the risk to your workers.

Understanding the risk

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways, including through droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and from touching a contaminated surface before touching the face. Higher risk situations require adequate protocols to address the risk.

  • The risk of person-to-person transmission is increased the closer you come to other people, the amount of time you spend near them, and the number of people you come near. Physical distancing measures help mitigate this risk.
  • The risk of surface transmission is increased when many people contact same surface, and when those contacts happen in short intervals of time. Effective cleaning and hygiene practices help mitigate this risk.

Selecting protocols for your workplace

Note that different protocols offer different protection. Wherever possible, use the protocols that offer the highest level of protection and add additional protocols as required.

HierarchyOfControlsFirst level protection (elimination): Limit the number of people in your workplace where possible by implementing work-from-home arrangements, establishing occupancy limits, rescheduling work tasks, or other means. Rearrange work spaces to ensure that workers are at least 2 m (6 ft) from co-workers, customers, and members of the public.

Second level protection (engineering controls): If you can’t always maintain physical distancing, install barriers such as plexiglass to separate people.

Third level protection (administrative controls): Establish rules and guidelines, such as cleaning protocols, telling workers to not share tools, or implementing one-way doors or walkways.

Fourth level protection (PPE): If the first three levels of protection aren’t enough to control the risk, consider the use of masks. Ensure masks are selected and cared for appropriately and that workers are using masks correctly.

Protocols for arts and culture

  • Cancel or restrict group visits, guided tours, public programs, and special or private events in excess of 50 patrons, in accordance with the provincial health officer’s order on gatherings events.
  • For groups of fewer than 50 patrons, ensure there is adequate space in your facility to accommodate the group. See the COVID-19 Safety Plan for guidance on establishing occupancy limits.
  • Consider allowing access by appointment to ensure occupancy limits are followed.
  • Consider ways to limit the exchange of paper products. Provide information to visitors via websites, provide online ticket sales, and provide digital visitor guides and programs.
  • Manage the flow of people by implementing one-way walkways or marking off designated walking areas.
  • Provide physical barriers at admissions and gift shop counters. Reuse exhibition materials such as plexiglass display cases to create barriers where the physical distancing requirement cannot be maintained.
  • Consider self-guided tours or phone applications based on self-guided tours.
  • Develop a system where customers can call docents from their cell phones while on the property to get specific questions answered without the docents and customers having to be face-to-face. Install desk phones at docent stations to facilitate this capability.
  • Wash your hands using good hygiene practices after touching common items.
  • Install touchless, no-contact audio-visual displays (triggered by physical distance, RFID, or similar technology).
  • Prohibit the use of high-touch displays through signage or physical barriers. If they remain in use, consider the following controls:
    • Install hand sanitizing stations near displays
    • Increase the cleaning frequency of all touch displays
  • Restrict or limit personal items being stored in coatrooms, baggage holding areas, etc.
  • Control access to entry points for workers, customers, and deliveries. Consider having limited points of entry. If you have more than one door, considering designating doors for entry and exit.
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations at all facility entryways for everyone to use.
  • Post COVID-19 protocols using signage for both workers and customers throughout facility.
  • Consider creating cohorts of workers who work together and who do not interact with other cohorts. This will assist in reducing transmission throughout the workplace in the event that a staff member becomes ill.
  • Increase the circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors.
  • Establish an occupancy limit for the library. See the COVID-19 Safety Plan for guidance on establishing occupancy limits. Implement measures to restrict the number of people in the library at one time.
  • Encourage the use of other services, such as digital libraries and services like virtual ebooks, digital audiobooks, eLending, and eLearning to reduce the number of people in the library.
  • Reconfigure interiors and design public areas to maintain the physical distancing requirement for workers and visitors. This may include:
    • Reducing the number of computer terminals
    • Reducing access to spaces
    • Removing chairs and tables
  • Ensure physical distancing is maintained during programs such as story time or workshops. Consider organizing digital programs.
  • Manage the flow of people by implementing one-way walkways or marking off designated walking areas.
  • Provide physical barriers, such as plexiglass, at visitor information desks, loan out counters, and other locations where workers cannot maintain the physical distancing requirement.
  • Control access to entry points for workers, customers, and deliveries. Consider having limited points of entry. If you have more than one door, considering designating doors for entry and exit.
  • Provide hand sanitizing stations at all facility entryways for everyone to use.
  • Post COVID-19 protocols using signage for both workers and customers throughout facility.
  • Wash your hands using good hygiene practices after touching common items.
  • Consider creating cohorts of workers who work together and who do not interact with other cohorts. This will assist in reducing transmission throughout the workplace in the event that a staff member becomes ill.
  • Establish and post an occupancy limit for the facility. See the COVID-19 Safety Plan for guidance on establishing occupancy limits. Establish and post occupancy limits for areas within the facility including arcades, break rooms, and washrooms.
  • Movie theatres are subject to the provincial health officer’s order on gatherings and events, which prohibits gatherings of 50 patrons or more. In the case of a multiplex, the 50 patron limit applies to each theatre within the multiplex, not to the multiplex as a whole. Ensure that physical distancing can be maintained in each theatre, and throughout the facility.
  • Establish handwashing and sanitizing policies, and support these hygiene practices among staff and customers (e.g., with the presence of hand sanitizer in work areas, lobby spaces, arcades, etc.).
  • Encourage the use of credit cards and loyalty cards wherever possible and have customers scan or tap their cards and handle the card readers themselves. Encourage tap payment over pin pad use. Establish hygiene practices that include washing or sanitizing hands after handling cash or cards handled by the public. Encourage the use of online ticket sales and promote paperless tickets for entry.
  • Ensure physical distancing can be maintained between workers and guests throughout the workplace. The configuration of some facilities will not allow for physical distancing to be maintained – for example, some point-of-sale counters will not ensure adequate distance. In these cases, consider other ways of maintaining distance, such as tape on the floor to indicate where guests should stand, or install a physical barrier to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Manage the flow of people through the facility to prevent crowds and congested areas. Consider the use of one-way walkways or doors, and identify how people should move through the facility through the use of floor tape or cordons.
  • Establish cleaning and disinfecting protocols that address high-contact surfaces throughout the facility. This includes the front desk area, food service areas, washrooms, ATMs, vending machines, and arcades. Ensure that arm rests within the theatres are cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • Consider creating cohorts of workers who work together and who do not interact with other cohorts. This will assist in reducing transmission throughout the workplace in the event that a staff member becomes ill.
  • Consider scheduling movies so that start and end times do not overlap, which will help alleviate congestion in common areas.
  • Ensure that seating allows for a physical distance of 2 metres between people who are not in the same party. Depending on the size of seats, this may mean leaving alternating rows empty, and leaving one or more seats empty between parties. This may be done through a combination of blocking off unavailable rows, and signage and communication to patrons reminding them to leave the appropriate number of seats between parties.
  • Block off seats bordering aisles so that people are not required to walk close to others when coming or going from the theatre.
  • Consider ways to manage crowds as they exit the theatre so that physical distancing can be maintained. Marking 2 metre intervals on the floor may help people maintain distance between groups. Other means may also be helpful, such as calling row numbers to slow the flood of people going through the exits.
  • Ensure that movie showings are scheduled at appropriate intervals to allow for time to clean, sanitize, and ventilate the space between showings.

See the following links for additional information, guidance, or resources that may assist you in the development of your plan.

A PDF version of the industry protocols is available for printing.

For more information

The information on this page is based on current recommendations and may change. For the latest guidance, please see the health information from the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and the latest news from the government of British Columbia.

If you have a question or concern

Workers and employers with questions or concerns about workplace exposure to COVID-19 can call WorkSafeBC's Prevention Information Line at 604.276.3100 in the Lower Mainland (toll-free within B.C. at 1.888.621.SAFE). You'll be able to speak to a prevention officer to get answers to your questions, and if required, a prevention officer will be assigned to assess the health and safety risk at your workplace.

Translated resources

Our key COVID-19 related resources are also available in Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), French, Punjabi, Spanish, and Vietnamese.