National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and Event Safety Alliance (ESA) have developed a guide for the live events industry with reopening procedures ahead of the summer of events in the US.

The Safe in Sound reopening checklist includes both front-of-house and back-of-house procedures, with sections detailing air circulation, face coverings, physical distancing, temperature checks, food and beverage, health implementation, touchless experiences, routine surface cleaning, vaccinations and testing, hospitality and catering, makeup and wardrobe and backline.

The six-page document has been developed in conjunction with the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), Coalition of Performing Arts Centers and National Independent Talent Organisation (NITO).

Sean Lynch, co-chair of NIVA’s reopening task force, said: “Safe In Sound compiles expansive yet easily digestible information and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts and delivers it in a form tailored specifically for our industry.

“As we return to these vital social environments, we need to make sure it’s done safely and comfortably for artists, staff, and patrons alike. We can’t wait to return to work and provide the live entertainment experience so many have missed.”

With concerts of all sizes being announced for summer and fall, the guide aims to help event organisers and venues to understand their risk mitigation decisions as they reopen and increase occupancy limits.

The document admits: “There will be challenges: many people are vaccinated, but the United States has not yet achieved herd immunity; everyone owns a face covering, but convincing them to wear it requires effort; physical distancing is well known, but people want to be together after more than a year apart.

“We are not epidemiologists, we are event industry professionals, so we have followed the science from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts.”

It advocates for holding events outdoors where possible, staggered entry times and the use of face coverings, stating that they are the “simplest, cheapest and most readily available means of substantially reducing the risk of transmitting coronavirus from one person to another”.

ESA vice president Steve Adelman added: “While it is always essential to meet state and local legal requirements, that is just the beginning. Every industry professional knows it takes an enormous amount of work to make events look simple.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented countless challenges to safely bringing audiences back to venues, safely getting production staff back to work behind the scenes, and safely returning artists to stages. We have created industry-specific guidance to put life safety first.”