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JacksRBack SDSU Backstage Operating Guidelines

SDSU Backstage Operating Guidelines Fall 2020

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings

Individuals working in the backstage area must follow the current University and SDBOR face covering protocols. Exceptions to face covering protocols may be necessary when a person is engaged in activities that make wearing a face covering impractical such as playing an instrument, performing in a theatre production, ASL signing, eating and/or drinking.

Each cast and crew member will be required to wear a face covering at all times while in workspaces, except when not feasible, due to the nature of the work. Face coverings should be put on again as soon as the work requiring its removal has been completed. Face coverings help prevent disease being spread from the person wearing the covering to those around them and provides limited protection for the person wearing the covering.

Respirators, properly selected and fit-tested, are personal protective equipment (PPE) that significantly reduce the risk of infection for the person wearing the respirator.

  • Personal face coverings should not be shared with others and are not PPE.
  • PPE such as surgical or disposable masks should be disposed of as regular (non-biohazard) waste. N-95 masks should be placed in the box labeled for “used N-95” and will be sterilized by the EHS office. Ample trash receptacles shall be available and these shall be emptied regularly.
  • Face coverings will be removed when making safety announcements on stage. Examples include lineset movements, counterweight loading, lift moving, etc. Face coverings should never be touched on the outside when donning or doffing a covering.

Hand Hygiene

Person hand hygiene is a key element of infection prevention and will be practiced widely in entertainment industry work environments. Given the concern that transmission of COVID-19 occurs both by air and by via contact, enhanced hand hygiene measures are critical. Hand washing with soap and water is considered more effective than use of hand sanitizer in preventing the spread of COVID-19. When hand washing is not available, the use of hand sanitizer should be considered mandatory.

The following is recommended regarding hand hygiene:

  • Workers should make every effort to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Restrooms should be supplemented with adequate handwashing facilities with running water, soap and paper towels, adequate for the number of workers and accessible from the first day of work.
  • Handwashing facilities must be kept sanitized and well-stocked.
  • Stations with alcohol-based hand rub (“hand sanitizer”) with at least 60% alcohol should be strategically placed around work areas and quantities of supplies of hand sanitizer shall be stocked and maintained and readily available. Methanol-containing hand sanitizers should never be used.
  • Workers shall be trained on hand hygiene practices (washing for a minimum of 20 seconds of duration, scrubbing all surfaces).
  • Production shall be halted periodically (at least every 4-6 hours) to facilitate a break for hand hygiene and high touch surface wipe down.
  • Hands shall be washed or sanitized:
    • Upon arriving at the job site;
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing;
    • After adjusting or handling face covering;
    • After using the restroom;
    • Before eating or drinking;
    • After meals and snacks;
    • After contact with animals or pets;
    • After handling equipment or objects that may carry COVID-19;
    • After handshaking, hugging or otherwise having physical contact with others who are not part of their immediate family;
    • After cleaning or disinfecting equipment, tools or workspaces; and
    • At other appropriate times throughout the workday
  • Handshaking, hugging and other physical contact with people who are not immediate family should be avoided.
  • Signage should be posted prominently with instructions on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, including hand hygiene and PPE instructions.

Disinfection and Maintenance

Heightened cleaning and disinfection should be practiced. Those responsible for performing cleaning shall adhere to the following recommendations and any other guidance issued by public health authorities with respect to cleaning practices.

  • The safest available EPA-registered and FDA approved disinfectant wipes and cleaning products that are effective against SARS-CoV-2 shall be widely available in all workspaces.
  • High touch surfaces shall be wiped down periodically with EPA-registered disinfectant, following the manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., safety requirements, protective equipment, concentration, contact time). Examples of high touch surfaces are tables, doorknobs, countertops, phones, faucets, etc.
  • All workspaces shall be cleaned with increased frequency, with an emphasis on high touch surfaces.
    • Manufacturers’ cleaning instructions should be followed for cleaning of sensitive equipment such as electronics.
  • Specific individuals should be responsible for performing high touch wipe down, with an emphasis on shared spaces and equipment.
  • Shared workspaces should be cleaned daily and between shifts, with an emphasis on high touch surfaces, including but not limited to production stage and wings, rehearsal studios, fly floors, lighting, sound and spotlight booths, dressing rooms, hair and make-up stations, production offices, break areas, shops and tech tables.
  • Personal equipment (such as tools, headsets, microphones, and radios) should not be shared unless necessary and shall be cleaned before being issued and additionally at least once per day with appropriate cleaning products. Manufacturer’s suggested cleaning instructions shall be followed for electronics and other sensitive items. 
  • Equipment such as radios/walkie-talkies/headsets shall be issued to a single worker and used exclusively by that worker for the duration of production and cleaned regularly.
  • For personal items or equipment that must be shared between workers, the item shall be wiped down between use and hand hygiene shall be performed after handling.

General Infection Prevention

  • Limit the duration of workdays and excessive consecutive workdays whenever possible and extend turnaround times whenever possible to ensure that workers remain healthy and receive adequate rest, since adequate rest is important for fighting infection.
  • When possible, stagger start and call times to limit the number of workers in the venue at any one time.
  • Physical contact should be avoided, including shaking hands, “high fives,” fist or elbow bumps or hugging. Physical contact related to actors is discussed below.
  • Non-essential visitors to the workplace should be restricted. If visitors are provided access, they should be subject to the same guidance as cast and crew/employees, including the need for symptom screening and PPE requirements.
  • No unauthorized or unexpected visitors, including family member will be allowed.
  • All workers should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
  • No animals/pets should be allowed in the workplace, unless it is an ADA/CDA compliant service animal.

Location Specific Guidelines

Back of House

Loading Dock/Fly Floor/Grid/On Stage/Control Booths/Orchestra Pit/Rehearsal Spaces

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 plan.
  • Delivery drivers should remain in the cab of trucks or be provided health screening and face coverings or other PPE that might be needed.
  • Personal work gloves should be washed with soap and water daily after use.
  • Stagger vehicle unloading to reduce crowding and enforce physical distancing.
  • Disinfect equipment as it is unloaded from trucks and if possible, do not unpack for at least one day.
  • Choke points should be identified and monitored to maintain physical distancing.
  • People should avoid congregating in groups. Separating work locations into zones to facilitate physical distancing.
  • Where physical distancing is not possible designate discrete groups of two to four workers. Worker groups should not intermingle.
  • Reduce overhead work where possible or stagger timing (rig all points in advance).
  • Disinfect touchable surfaces, all high-risk equipment after each use (radios, headsets, microphones, props, safety equipment) and weight stacks daily.
  • Reduce number of personnel simultaneously allowed onstage or develop a strategy per show/event for staffing levels and on-stage locations during load-in, run and strike.
  • Install Plexiglas partitions where possible (follow spot booth, front of house board operators, etc.).
  • When possible, add floor markings and other signage for social distancing.
  • Saturation with alcohol, or spills of alcohol particularly on clothing will make this material more flammable. Care should be taken to not expose costumes or cleaning cloths to any heat source.

Catering/Food Preparation

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 Plan
  • Seating area capacity reduced per CDC/PHAC or local guidelines.
  • Switch to all disposable tableware and prewrapped cutlery.
  • Implement ordered individual box lunches.
  • Eliminate all buffet style service (salad bar, dessert station, etc.)
  • Switch to individually packaged items for self-service.
  • Eliminate linen where possible or replace all linen after each guest; any used linen should be treated as contaminated.
  • Cups and mugs should be disposable and souvenir cups should be eliminated.
  • Workers should eat at their workstations if possible and clean up afterwards.

Production/Break Rooms and Crew Common Areas

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 Plan
  • Limit the number of occupants in common areas to promote distancing.
  • Designate one representative to complete sign-in paperwork to reduce crowding and surface transfer exposure.
    • Eliminate paperwork wherever possible.
    • Breaks should be staggered to ensure social distancing.
    • Provide handwashing stations and/or sanitizing stations in association with break rooms.
    • All employees must wear face coverings at all times. When drinking or eating occurs during a break, face coverings should be reapplied after consumption and hands should be washed thoroughly afterwards.
    • Eliminate “buffet style” catering or self-serve donuts, cookies, etc.; use individually packaged beverages/snacks.
    • Discontinue use of sharable lockers.

Wardrobe Department/Dressing Rooms/Child Actor Guardians

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 Plan
  • Limit the use of laundry machines to show laundry only, limit the number of people doing the washing.
  • Space dressing stations 6 feet apart to comply with social distancing.
  • Limit occupancy of each room based on social distancing guidelines.
  • Install protective barriers such as Plexiglas or curtains between dressing stations.
  • Consider implementing a Work Teams Policy:
    • Work teams include a small number of people who routinely work together but keep their distance from everyone else.
    • For example, a small group of performers and dressers can be formed as a “work team” to limit their exposure.
    • Dressers should not “float” through the entire cast.
    • Wardrobe personnel and guardians handling face coverings or PPE belonging to/removed by child performers should be provided with gloves and instructed on safe handling practices.
    • Performers should be instructed to dispose of used tissues, lozenges, etc. in trash receptacles, rather than handing them to dressers and guardians.
    • Disinfection and cleaning of personal tools, equipment and garments should be done by the department members before and after use.
    • Use of “bite lights” will not be used unless essential; headlamps or lighted quick-change areas will be used.
    • Performers may not be able to wear face coverings or PPE in costume.

Make-up/Hair Department

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 Plan
  • Physical Distancing
    • Alter workspaces to permit physical distancing by a minimum of six feet.
    • No one should enter a workspace while Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists are working with an Actor.
    • Where physical distancing is not possible, install protective partitions between workstations.
  • Consider implementing a Work Teams Policy:
    • Work teams include a small number of people who routinely work together but keep their distance from everyone else.
    • For example, Hair and Makeup Artists being assigned to a limited number of performers, can form a “work team” to limit their exposure.
    • Hair and Makeup Artists should not “float” through the entire cast.
  • Performers may not be able to wear face coverings or PPE while makeup, tattoos, wigs or hair is applied or styled. Actresses and actors may be asked to do their own makeup as feasible. Workers in close proximity shall wear face coverings and face shields at all times and perform hand hygiene before and after the encounter.
  • Brushes, combs and applicators
    • Use disposable single-use brushes and applicators if proper disinfection of these cannot be guaranteed.
    • Multiples of tools, brushes and equipment may be needed to assure that these items are dedicated to single actors.
    • Principal Actors may want their own personal items to avoid cross contamination. In this case, these items must be disinfected between uses if more than one person touches them.
    • Washable sponges and puffs can be used on a single actor only. These items should be cleaned and disinfected each day and should be avoided if possible.
  • Mix foundation, powders, lipstick, etc. on a separate clean palette for each individual.
  • If gloves are used, new gloves should be used for each individual actor and disposed of properly.
  • Cleaning
    • All clean tools, combs/brushes should be kept in covered clean containers.
    • Clean hairbrushes and combs with appropriate disinfectant solution.
    • Clean and disinfect chairs after each use.
  • Smocks and capes
    • Make-up and Hair department members should have multiple smocks to wear over clothing to maintain sanitation. These smocks should be changed for work with each individual and laundered daily.
    • If non-disposable capes are used, these should be cleaned and disinfected between each actor or alternate. If disposable paper capes are used, new capes should be applied for each individual actor and disposed of properly.
  • Hats and other wardrobe pieces may be brought into the hair and make-up room but not placed on a disinfected workstation.
  • Specialized containers, cabinets or shelving for uncontaminated storage on deck should be available for Make-up and Hair departments.
  • Use of “bite lights” will not be used unless essential; headlamps or lighted quick-change areas will be used.

Theatrical Shops

Costume Shop

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 Plan
  • Protocols for use of shared equipment should be followed (i.e. safety pins, measuring tapes, tags, hangers, garment bags, racks, tables).
  • Cleaning procedures that account for the multiple types of surfaces of costumes and equipment should be followed.
  • Cutting tables and sewing machines and other work areas must be configured to allow for 6’ physical distancing.
  • Where workstations cannot be spaced 6’ apart, Plexiglas dividers should be installed.
  • Limit use of laundry machines to work-related laundry only.
  • Purchasing, whenever possible, should be done in advance to allow for sanitizing.
  • When shopping, workers should adhere to and follow all applicable aforementioned guiding principles and guidelines even though they are not in the employer’s workspace.
  • Delivery drivers should remain in their vehicle or be cleared in advance of entry by health screening and use face coverings or other necessary PPE.
  • When possible, add floor markings for physical distancing.

Costume Fittings

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 Plan
  • Only essential personnel should be in the fitting room.
  • Tools that come in contact with the actor, such as measuring tapes should be sanitized after each fitting.
  • Fittings should not be scheduled back to back to allow sanitization between fittings.
  • When possible, add floor markings for physical distancing.
  • Efforts should be made to limit the number of simultaneous fittings. When not possible necessary physical distancing and protective barriers should be installed.
  • The same cleaning procedures implemented for used costumes should be applied to those costumes not selected during fitting before being returned to vendors including rental houses.

Scenic/Lighting Shops

  • Review and adhere to OLPAC COVID-19 Plan
  • Drivers should remain in cab of truck or be cleared by health screening, provided face coverings and any additional necessary PPE before interacting with crew.
  • Personal Work Gloves should be washed with soap and water daily after use; always encourage the use of disposable gloves.
  • Stagger vehicle unloading to minimize crowding and enforce physical distancing.
  • Disinfect equipment from trucks as it is unloaded.
  • Choke points should be identified and monitored to maintain physical distancing.
  • People should avoid congregating in groups.
  • Consider implementing a Work Teams Policy:
    • Work teams include a small number of people who routinely work together but keep their distance from everyone else.
    • For example, discrete groups of two to four workers to help minimize exposure in situations such as wallpapering, aging, moving large equipment and/or supplies, etc.
    • Discrete groups should not intermingle.
  • Blueprints and drawings and samples should be copied for individual use or disinfected when transferred or shared. Consider lamination to allow for better sanitizing.
  • Communally used tools and equipment must be sanitized before and after each use by a different individual.
  • Personal tools must not be shared unless disinfected prior to transfer to another worker.
  • Tools that are not normally cleaned daily (straight edges, tables, etc.) need to be cleaned and disinfected at least daily.

Maximum Room Occupancy

The following maximum room occupancy restrictions are based on the CDC guideline of 6 feet of separation between individuals or 113 sq. ft per person. Numbers have been rounded to eliminate decimals.

Room #RoomSq. Ft.Max Occupancy
169Green Room4044
173Large Dressing Room4174
179Large Dressing Room4174
181Small Dressing Room1732
183Small Dressing Room1732
186Prop Studio4264
272JLighting Control1221
272GSound Control811
572Followspot4014