(Above) "Vincent Thomas Bridge" by Susan Logoreci.
In recent months, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has issued a number of protocols to plan for the safe reopening our arts, culture, and creative economy sectors. Arts and Culture collaborated with Public Health to develop new guidance to help the creative community navigate COVID-19 openings safely, and centralize these documents to make them easier to access. Arts and Culture is also providing information about the types of events that are permitted under the current health orders (and the fact that events must be completed by 10 pm), the requirement for written compliance plans for all venues and events, and how to obtain approval from Public Health to hold an event. It is not yet time for many activities to resume, but it is time to prepare and plan.
Arts and culture are essential to LA County's economy, identity, wellbeing, and recovery. We offer this guidance to support the cultural sector as we navigate the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our community at this critical time.
Continued Risk and Seriousness
LA County has the most people and the most COVID-19 infections in California, so we must take a more measured approach in reopening sectors to ensure we slow the spread of the virus in the community. Currently, Los Angeles County is still considered to be one of the higher-risk counties in the state and is categorized as "Tier 1—Widespread" by the State of California.
Continue to Practice Personal Protective Behaviors
It is still critical to practice a minimum of 6 feet of social (physical) distancing and wear a facemask whenever you are around others, wash your hands frequently, and stay home when you are sick or have been in close contact with someone who is sick. In-person social gatherings must be held outdoors and include 15 people maximum, who are members of no more than 3 households. As a community, we can collectively slow the spread of COVID-19 by operating safely. Let’s all do our part.
The incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in many states and countries. Californians are encouraged to stay home or in their region over the holidays, and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Travel—especially air, bus, and rail travel—increases the risk of virus transmission.
Permitted Activities for Arts and Culture
The following Public Health protocols provide detailed guidelines for specific types of venues and activities. Protocols are legally required mandates and must be followed. Read these carefully to ensure any planned events or activities fall within what is permitted under these guidelines.
Due to recent updates, drive-in live performance events may take place as long as they are completed by 10 pm. They are required to follow the reopening protocols for Drive-in Movie Theaters AND Music, Television, and Film Production to ensure the safety of audience, performers, and workers. Indoor galleries are allowed to operate under the protocols for Reopening Retail Establishments, but events in galleries or any indoor spaces (including but not limited to openings, activities, performances, or hosted events) are not permitted at this time.
NOTE: This is the primary protocol for Music, TV and Film Production companies to follow and includes specifications for performers, crew, and hired audience members. Singers, musicians, dancers, and all other performers must follow the protocol developed for actors. It requires a COVID-19 Compliance Officer, and usually requires regular viral testing of cast and crew.
Producers of any event or activity must prepare an event-specific plan to show how the operation of the event will meet all the requirements in the relevant protocol(s). A plan should list out all steps being followed to meet requirements for physical distancing, face coverings, disinfections, staff health screening, one-way movement of foot or car traffic, and more. Including a map of the venue or site layout is recommended to visualize physical distancing and traffic flow plans. The plan should be distributed to all staff, crew, and performers, and used as a reference when training them. Public Health staff may request a copy of the plan if a site visit is performed.
Submitting Plans to Public Health
At this time, only plans for new or "pop-up" drive-in movie (or drive-in live concerts or performance) operations must be submitted in advance to Environmental Health at firstname.lastname@example.org for their approval. Submit at least 7 days in advance before the event date. Currently, drive-in movies or live performances occurring at permanent, established drive-in movie lots do not need to submit plans.
Updates to the Health Order and Protocols
The COVID-19 emergency remains a very dynamic situation. As sectors reopen, increases in infection may occur and the health order will be adjusted. As we learn more about the virus, protocols may be adjusted to improve safety and health outcomes. It is your responsibility to revisit these protocols to check for updates, and adjust your plans to those updates, before your event takes place. The guidance in this document is current as of November 13, 2020. Check the County Public Health website regularly for updates.
Risks of Non-Compliance
Public Health Orders and protocols are legal mandates. Failure to adhere to public health protocols could result in Public Health shutting down the event, producers issuing a fine, and jeopardizing the producer or producing organization’s status as an eligible County grantee or vendor.
Questions about your specific events and plans are best answered by representatives from the Department of Public Health; contact the COVID-19 call center for assistance at (877) 777-5799. Arts and Culture staff are unable to review plans or provide specific feedback or guidance on how to comply with the public health order.
LA County Free COVID-19 Testing Appointments available at https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing/