Covid-19: Questions to ask as you prepare to return to your studio or to other work

As we now move to the preparation for the re-opening of cultural spaces, it is clear that there are many preparations that need to take place to ensure our safety as well as the safety of others. Valuable work is being undertaken at the moment in this area which will assist organisations plan and identify changes that will need to be in place so that safety and confidence can be topmost in all of our minds.

As we all emerge from isolation, we are conscious that many artists access a variety of spaces such as studios and workshops, as well as undertaking work such as installing shows, offering outreach programmes, etc. With this in mind, we have prepared a brief list of items that artists should be aware of before returning to this type of work or space. The list is not exhaustive, but offers an outline of questions that should be answered so that you know that Health and Safety processes are in place.

  1. Co-Ordinator/Person Responsible: Who is the person responsible for co-ordinating the organisation’s response to COVID-19?
  2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Will PPE be required or recommended for use in the space and, if so, what is available?
  3. PPE for Visitors: Will PPE be required for visitors and/or will the organisation provide PPE?
  4. Social Distancing: Is the space designed so that social distancing can be maintained throughout the day? Will signage, floor markings, or other precautions be clearly marked in public and private areas?
  5. Group Work: If work being undertaken requires a group, what social distancing protocols will be in place to ensure the health and safety of the group and other users of the space?
  6. Common Areas: Will common areas and communal work areas be open and available, and how they will be maintained and disinfected throughout the day?
  7. Physical barriers: In communal work areas, kitchens or common seating areas that may be prone to congestion and where social distancing is not possible throughout the work day, will there be a limit to who and how many can access an area and will suitable dividers to separate people from each other be in place?
  8. Cleaning/Disinfecting: How often will cleaning and disinfecting take place, and what assurance is there that they are compliant with any applicable guidelines?
  9. Personal Hygiene: Will hand washing and disinfecting areas be available with adequate supplies including hand sanitiser at convenient locations?
  10. Special Restrictions or Advice: There are unique requirements and/or guidance for many industries, from retail and hospitality to healthcare and construction. These will have parallels in our sector. It will be useful to know what specific rules have been referenced in the organisation’s planning, and if specific restrictions and advice are in place.
  11. Vulnerability: Do you have an underlying health condition that you need to let people know about? Are you required to do this?
  12. Health Screenings: Will there be health screenings?
  13. Temperature Taking: Will there be a requirement and system for taking the temperatures of people using or visiting the space? and who will do it?
  14. Information Retention: Will health information be gathered and recorded? Who will have access to this information?
  15. Rotating Schedules: Will the space be accessible only on a rotating schedule basis to ensure social distancing?
  16. Training: Will training be provided to ensure awareness of the health and safety protocols and other rules and restrictions that are applicable?
  17. Positive Tests: If you or somebody accessing the space tests positive for COVID-19 or shows/reports symptoms, what procedures are in place, including but not limited to workplace contact tracing, required reporting to government entities, disclosure to co-workers and other third parties, permission to use the space or return to work, etc?
  18. Refusal to Return: If you are not comfortable with the preparations in place, what redress do you have if you are renting space or you are providing a paid service in the space?
  19. Failure to Comply With Precautions: What controls are in place to ensure compliance with safety guidelines and precautions?

If you have people visiting you in the space, you may be responsible for them during their visit. We strongly recommend reading https://www.nsai.ie/images/uploads/general/NSAI-Guidelines-for-COVID-19-2020-04-09.pdf which offers guidelines that may be of use. We also recommend speaking with the management of the organisation or space that you are using so that you feel comfortable that your health and safety is being protected to the best of their ability.

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