The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), in conjunction with the Georgia Facilities Working Group, released a best practices guide to reopening public assembly facilities in the state, such as live entertainment and sports venues, museums, and retail stores. The guide is issued ahead of the reopening of large and small live performance venues on July 1, as allowed in state executive orders 06.11.20.01 and 06.29.20.02. The public assembly facilities COVID-19 reopening guide can be found online at GDEcD’s website here.
The Georgia Facilities Working Group includes a wide array of state and municipally owned institutions, universities, professional sports teams, and arts organizations, and was charged with providing recommendations to safely reopen public assembly facilities within the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening guide is based on standards and guidelines provided by federal, state, and local governments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and public health organizations as of June 2020, so that Georgia facilities can use appropriate recommendations in determining how to safely and responsibly reopen to the public. It also stresses developing a robust communications plan regarding safety and well-being tailored to the employees, guests, and anyone expected to visit or do business at the facility.
“Our public events facilities bring us together in common purpose, and we are proud to stand with our Georgia business, events, and arts communities as more venues continue to safely reopen,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “As more Georgians return to work, it is critical that we operate safely, using measures that will preserve our health and the health of others. I thank the Georgia Facilities Working Group for providing a practical guide to help our state’s patrons and visitors safely enjoy all that Georgia has to offer.”
The document notes that by reopening, these facilities will not only help improve Georgia’s economy, but “more importantly, provide the human interaction and common experiences we crave.”
“The Fox Theatre team was honored to support Governor Kemp’s office and the Georgia Department of Economic Development by spearheading this project with State Farm Arena, to create a scalable and sustainable solution to help Georgia venues safely reopen,” said Fox Theatre President and CEO Allan Vella. “We collaborated with our counterparts at many of the state’s top organizations, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Georgia World Congress Center, the Tour Championship, Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority, and the University of Georgia, to develop guideposts to instill confidence that all facilities statewide will be prepared to open safely when it is feasible to do so.”
The guidelines also note that entertainment, sports and facility management industries have made every effort to be collaborative in finding common solutions to the issues the industries are collectively facing, and best practices from industry associations have been adopted.
In addition to the Fox Theatre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, members of the Georgia Facilities working group include leaders from top venues across the state, including The Atlanta Opera, Alliance Theater, the Cobb Galleria Centre, the Georgia World Congress Center, State Farm Arena, and The Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta; the Classic Center and the University of Georgia Athletic Association in Athens; the Miller Theater in Augusta; the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts in Columbus; the Infinite Energy Center, Explore Gwinnett, and Gwinnett Sports Commission in Gwinnett County; and the TOUR Championship – PGA Tour; among others. A full list of members of the Georgia Facilities Working Group is available on page 23 of the best practices guide here.
As Georgia continues to safely reopen for more public activities, all Georgians are urged to get tested for COVID-19. For more information on active testing sites across Georgia and how to schedule an appointment, click here.
The Georgia Facilities Working Group Reopening Guide is available here.