Almost a dozen Chattanooga venues, as well as representatives of the city and Hamilton county mayors' offices, have been working together in recent weeks to develop overarching guidelines for reopening their establishments amid coronavirus.
The Chattanooga Gathering Guide contains almost three dozen protocols such as safety training and the elimination of water fountains. It was compiled by venues large and small, from Songbirds to Finley Stadium, and provides several key concepts that these venues have all agreed to try to put into action.
Representatives from the venues, which by default bring together people for gatherings of 10 or more, have agreed to follow certain consistent guidelines to ensure clarity and safety for the community. Reopening dates will be determined by the venues.
The Chattanooga Gathering GuideView
"Our event venues are important to the quality of life in our city, and by working together, we can mitigate confusion and set consistent expectations as we reopen," said Tara Viland, venue manager of the Signal.
"While not every venue will reopen on the same schedule, this coordinated effort should provide our patrons and others with confidence. These venues have put significant time and energy into developing a reopening plan that is consistent with health guidelines and has been done in consultation with our various public officials."
The Tivoli Theatre Foundation
Chattanooga Symphony and Opera
Chattanooga Football Club
University of Tennessee Chattanooga
Songbirds Guitar Museum
Friends of the Festival
Bessie Smith Cultural Center
City of Chattanooga Mayor’s Office
Hamilton County Mayor’s Office
Featuring recommendations from encouraging mitigation measures consistent with public health guidelines to training and on-site medical safety officers, the Chattanooga Gathering Guide provides a road map for reopening in spite of the recent challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This effort also highlights the Chattanooga spirit of working together to solve big problems, community leaders say.
"As someone still relatively new to Chattanooga, it has been amazing to see all of these entities come together with a common goal," said Jeremy Alumbaugh, managing director of the Chattanooga Football Club.
"It has been incredible to be part of a strong, collaborative group of like-minded people who are putting the safety and well-being of their patrons, employees and, most importantly, the entire Chattanooga community as the first priority," Alumbaugh said. "Anyone that attends one of these events, whether it is in an indoor venue or outdoors like a Chattanooga FC match, knows that while we are excited about opening back up, we are only doing so with well-thought- out protocols and procedures with everyone's safety in mind."
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Chattanooga Gathering Guide
Chattanooga venues are uniting to protect the health and safety of our local sports, entertainment and arts community. We are banding together to stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation, evolving public health guidelines and new workplace safety standards. As a community, we will forge a clear path towards a future of local events that will assure public confidence and re-establish the love of the communal experience.
With strength in solidarity, we commit to following the best practices to safeguard ourselves, our coworkers, artists and patrons. This will be a gradual process as we adjust with evolving data. We recognize that the nature and timing of the strategies adopted by individual venues will vary based upon state and local guidelines and/or mandates and upon the unique circumstances and conditions of each venue. We also recognize that venues simply cannot guarantee that all exposure to the virus will be eliminated. But as a group, we agree that planning, training and implementing reasonable health and safety measures is essential. These are the best ways to protect both the viability of live events and all the people who attend and make them happen. Our goal is to provide a level of transparency and openness that allows staff and guests to make informed choices about returning to our venues.
We are all committed to the following new protocols at each of our venues:
● Mitigation measures must be consistent with public health guidelines and timing recommendations.
● Mitigation measures must be effective, manageable, consistent and dependable.
● Communication to staff, guests and visiting companies must be transparent, empathetic and meaningful.
● Robust training and support programs must be in place to empower staff with a level of confidence to return to work before beginning a phased reopening.
● Prepare to assess and adjust operations based on changing circumstances.
● Designate a trained worker as the safety officer for the venue and/or event. The safety officer will have final authority to approve the organizers’ health and hygiene plan, worker training conforming to that plan, designate workers to enforce that plan and coordinate with local public health authorities. The safety officer, or their designee, will also have final authority whether to allow a worker or patron to enter the venue if there is a health concern.
● Educate management about PPE supply chains for venue equipment and testing resources.
● Reduce capacity when necessary to conform to local social distancing guidelines, including seating plans if applicable.
● Encourage vulnerable and at-risk guests to stay home and/or watch remotely if possible.
● Encourage patrons to make responsible decisions, self-screen for potential symptoms before attending events and discourage people who are sick from attending events.
We strongly recommend that each venue:
● Screen patrons through a basic test to identify potential disease indicators including potential temperature confirmation.
● Establish written and posted protocols for refusing entry based on observed symptoms determined by an appointed safety officer.
● Encourage patrons to wear a cloth face covering at all times while in the premises as recommended by the CDC. Venues to encourage patrons to use personal protection items as recommended by the CDC.
● Encourage patrons to maintain at least 6 feet separation from other individuals not in their group. In addition, other measures such as face covering, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness and sanitation should be encouraged and rigorously practiced.
● Place visible signage to remind everyone of best hygiene practices per CDC guidelines.
● Make hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, soap and water or similar disinfectant readily available to employees and guests.
● Provide PPE safe disposal receptacles.
● Adopt touchless equipment and contactless payment methods whenever possible. Where not available, contact should be minimized.
● Create guest movement controls to maintain safe social distancing
● Add signage and/or floor markings to reinforce advised guest behavior.
● Limit use of small common areas by multiple people at one time (e.g., elevators, smoking areas, restrooms)
● Temporarily eliminate water fountains or bubblers.
● Deep clean and sanitize per CDC guidelines with EPA-registered disinfectant/products.
● Perform constant disinfection of high-traffic and high-touch surface areas.
● Assign designated staff to oversee maintaining heightened sanitization efforts. Train or refresh all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette per CDC and FDA guidelines. Require employee hygiene tracking system.
● Implement pandemic and COVID-19 training courses for all employees.
● Provide PPE face masks and gloves to be worn by designated employees as recommended by the CDC.
● Train employees in fitting, wearing & using PPE as well as safe removal, sanitizing, disposal
● Establish an employee health tracking system and screen all employees reporting to work for COVID-19 symptoms.
● Support continued remote work whenever possible and limit onsite work to essential roles and responsibilities.
● Remain ADA compliant when implementing mitigation measures.