The Reopening of Virginia

Starting later in May it is anticipated that the Governor will slowly let businesses and organizations reopen. Here is critical and important information/guidance to do so safely. and responsibly.

Provide Input to Governor’s Reopening Task Force:

Embracing Arlington Arts has been asked by a member of Governor Northam’s “Reopening Task Force” to provide input and insight into how the state’s performing arts industry will be able to safely open when the COVID-19 case numbers decline enough. The responses received from Northern Virginia visual arts and theater organizations will be shared with the Governor’s staff and Task Force members as they anticipate drafting guidelines and criteria for establishments covered under Phases 3 and 4. Survey responses are due back to Janet Kopenhaver ( by COB Friday, May 22, 2020.

Survey for the Reopening of Virginia Performing Arts Industry

How Are Arlington’s Numbers?

Criteria for moving to Phase I Reopening are: Declines in hospitalizations and new cases for 14 days; sufficient testing and contact tracing; sufficient hospital capacity; and sufficient Personal Protective Equipment. Unfortunately, the state and Northern Virginia especially are achieving only the last two criteria (hospital capacity and PPE supplies) as of May 17, 2020. In Arlington and Northern Virginia, we are experiencing considerably worse trends in hospitalizations and positive cases than the state in general, which itself is not yet near that 14 day benchmark. You can see our data on our dashboard here:

IMPORTANT Data to Consider When Reopening Arts Venues and Events

Shugoll Research created a widely released report on Washington DC area theatergoers. The survey examined the likelihood of theatergoers to return immediately to attend theater and the factors and concerns that would make audiences more or less likely to attend again. They have also done a national survey. Here are the links.

Executive Summary Shugoll Research DC

Coronavirus Theater Report

National Report_Shugoll Research

NEW, NEW POSTING – Safety Guides:

In response, the Event Safety Alliance today released The Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide.

ESA Reopening Guide.png

The Reopening Guide addresses health and sanitary issues that event and venue professionals need to consider in order to protect both patrons and workers.  Since there is still insufficient testing, no contact tracing, and no vaccine against COVID-19, this guidance is particularly detailed.  The first edition is tailored to be especially useful for event professionals reopening the smallest events with the fewest resources available to mitigate their risks, since in every municipal reopening plan these will be allowed to reopen first.



Performing Arts Center Consortium released a guide for venues. Our primary goal is to provide information and resources to assist performing arts centers that accommodate 6,000 people or less in implementing a phased approach to returningto normal operations while simultaneously protecting the health and safety of our staff, guests, and artists. We assume that for the foreseeable future, “normal operations” will require venues to adopt reasonable measures that respond to the evolving circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click to access PACC%20Reopening%20Advisory%20%20Draft%20%20%20%20%20%20%20Ver%204.0.pdf

Governor’s Announcements:

Most recently, the Governor’s Task Force released a very specific guideline for Phase I reopening criteria. It covers numerous establishment types, as well as specific actions that need to be implemented before reopening.


The Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam has announced an initial plan for reopening the state with specific phases for businesses to reopen. Here is a link to all the guidance.

Here are the metrics to determine moving from one phase to the next:

Here is a copy of the Governor’s power point presentation with more details about reopening:

Sample Criteria for Reopening Arlington:

For an illustration of what those criteria for reopening Virginia are likely to look like, here a handout from Arlington’s Public Health Director Dr. Reuben Varghese to the Metro Washington Council of Governments. (NOTE: These are not formally adopted criteria yet.)

Re-Opening Criteria _ Handout from MWCOG.

Best Practices for Reopening Arts Organizations:

Overall, here is a good article written by Sangfroid Strategy outlining 5 things artists and arts organizations can do right now to combat the effects of COVID-19, including a wealth of resources you can use and inspiring examples of how other organizations are making sustainable choices that will help them survive AND thrive!

The National Council on Nonprofits posted a guide about planning the return to work. A lot of the information is generic, but beginning on page 36 there is specific guidance on best practices for reopening arts venues and museums.

Oklahoma Reopening Guidance

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