The rapid and terrifying spread of COVID-19 has left so many actors and artist out of work. But for those of us still waiting for the hammer to come down, still rehearsing or performing, how are we supposed to conduct ourselves? So often, actors stay silent, grin and bear it, to protect uncertain positions in an unpredictable industry. But the Coronavirus reality calls for new personal and professional policies. Here are some guidelines you can keep in mind if you’re still working and trying to keep yourself and others safe.
Now, more than ever, it is critical to advocate for your own safety. Remember that no one actually knows what is happening or how to predict the future, so trust your gut and speak up if you feel you are being put into an unsafe situation. Now is not the time to play the hero, or worry that you will appear as if you’re overreacting.
Better safe than sorry. We are in a national emergency. Stay updated, follow CDC regulations, and if you have ANY inkling of concern, stay home regardless of what people are asking you to do. The risk is not worth it. Even if you’re in performance. Communicate with your colleagues early and often, but stick to your guns.
Implement hygienic boundaries.
Y’all. I am cultivating full on germophobic tendencies and I’m not sorry. I know you’ve heard it before but wash. Your hands. Do not feel bad. Entering a building, halfway through rehearsal, before you eat, before you leave, after you touch pretty much anything, wash them thoroughly and constantly. Carry some hand moisturizer, you’ll need it. If you’re still rehearsing, insist on maintaining distance and putting off what intimate blocking you can. Remember the normal rules of etiquette do not apply right now. Be vigilant and ruthless in your insistence on safety procedures.
We are fortunate to be living in times that are abundant with technological advances and opportunities. Connect with your fellow artists online, via phone or video conference. Focus on writing and production you can do from home. Find new ways to keep your art moving forward when you have to stay home.
Pitch in and help.
Artists and freelancers nationwide are connecting to help each other out, whether it be to hook one another up with gigs and side hustles, or to support those who have lost income and work. If you want to keep the arts supported and safe, speak up, get involved and be proactive about protecting the arts.
We can do this. The arts have survived centuries of global disaster. We can rebuild. But to rebuild the arts, we must protect the artists. Stay safe, everyone.