CORONAVIRUS

Updated: March 26, 2020

This is a rapidly changing situation, and recommended actions may be highly-specific to your location. Check your state and local health agencies for guidance specific to your location.

Make sure to see the latest on the stimulus package.

Quick Links to What's on This Page

 


A Letter from the League President and CEO to Members Regarding the COVID-19 Crisis, 3/13/20

 


League Member Discussion Group

The League has created a dedicated discussion group on its League360 platform for members to exchange questions and information regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Members may sign up for the discussion group here. (EDs, General Managers, and HR, PR, Marketing, and Operations staff were automatically subscribed; they may unsubscribe within the channel settings if they wish. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help.)

 


Executive 1:1 Consultations
To complement peer group calls among our members, the League has assembled a group of experienced leaders from a variety of types and sizes of orchestras to be available to executive directors of member orchestras for 1 on 1 consultations.  These leaders, who have volunteered to help and have worked through crises before, are eager to support others in any aspect of leading an orchestra through the challenges of the pandemic.  Please find details in a message from Jesse Rosen, President and CEO of the League, in your League360 discussion group.

 


Federal Assistance

Community by community, the impact of COVID-19 is variable and rapidly changing. As Congress and the Administration consider new forms of federal economic assistance that may be targeted or widespread, orchestras should be contacting elected officials to let them know of the unexpected loss of event-dependent revenue, income for musicians, and declines in charitable contributions.

Contact Your Member of Congress Today!

The SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program has received additional funding to provide disaster relief loans, related to COVID-19, with eligibility for nonprofit organizations. The CARE act adds an expectation of three-day processing of loan applications for up to $10,000 in emergency funds. The SBA has informed the League that, as of March 24, 2020, all states are in the process of being granted eligibility, and that all interested loan applicants should originate an application now. Keep in mind that multiple forms of SBA relief may not be used for the same purpose. Guidelines should spell out how the SBA-backed forgivable paycheck protection loans approved in the third relief package will relate to economic injury disaster loans.

Background Information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Frequently Asked Questions 

Disaster Loan Application Forms

Direct Link to Apply Online

Unemployment Benefits Guidance was expanded by the federal government on March 12, giving states the flexibility to expand their unemployment benefits coverage to include COVID-19 related worker displacement. These changes are being made state by state. Some states have stated their intention to also develop new support for self-employed workers who are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Consult your state department of labor for more details. Please also stay tuned for how the third COVID relief package will expand unemployment benefits to support self-employed workers.

This package has a central focus on COVID-related paid leave for employees, relief for employers (including nonprofit employers) that provide the paid leave, and comparable leave provisions for self-employed workers. Details will be determined in regulations and guidelines issued by federal agencies during the week of March 22, which should provide answers to questions orchestras will have about how the requirements and relief apply to staff, musicians, and independent contractors who are not able to work due to rehearsal, concert, and program cancellations; inability to telework; and other impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The FFCRA’s paid leave provisions are effective on April 1, 2020, and apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The League will provide additional details as soon as they become available. In the meantime, see the following resources:

The largest COVID-19 federal relief package yet is expected to be signed into law on March 27 and includes new forms of support that can be accessed by arts organizations and self-employed individuals. The League of American Orchestras has been a leading voice as orchestras join advocates in the arts and nonprofit sectors nationwide seeking federal relief that will protect their substantial workforce and safeguard their essential service to communities in the wake of unprecedented closures and event cancellations. Forms of federal support that have traditionally been more limited are now expanded to offer opportunities for the nonprofit sector and workers in the gig economy, like many self-employed musicians, to find relief amidst the COVID-19 crisis. While these forms of assistance are meant to be rapidly available, more details will be needed as federal agencies sort out the fine print.

League of American Orchestras CARES Act Overview (March 26, 2020)

League CARES Act Orchestra Question Portal

Senate Summary of Key CARES Act Provisions

National Council of Nonprofits CARES Act Overview

League joins National Council of Nonprofits in urging Congress to provide relief for nonprofit sector

    • National Endowment for the Arts Funding
      The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) includes $75 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to administer for COVID-19 assistance. Of the total, 40% of funding will be administered in partnership with state arts agencies, and the remaining resources will be delivered through direct NEA grants. The agency is authorized to make grants to support general operating expenses, and matching requirements may be waived for grants. The NEA will be rapidly providing more information about grant opportunities. In the meantime, the NEA makes the following information available to current grantees and FY20 applicants:

 

NEA FAQ for Applicants and Current Grantees

Statement from Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter

 


ArtsReady Resources 

ArtsReady is an online service by and for arts and culture nonprofits, and provides ongoing guidance in support of emergency preparation. The ArtsReady homepage features advice specific to the coronavirus, including consideration of how to review what is covered by insurance policies. It was recently updated to feature a number of free webinars that will be of interest to orchestras. 

 


Governance

BoardSource
What board members should be doing right now

 


Communications

Seattle Symphony Coronavirus Message to Concert Attendees
Seattle Symphony Coronavirus FAQ (PDF)
Webinar from Seattle Symphony staff on developing COVID-19 messaging

 


Fundraising and Marketing

Many consultants are now publishing articles online and offering webinars. Check in with your favorite consultant.  Some are offering free consultations.  Here are a few we like, along with a ink to the resources offered by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Free Consultations

  • “Cascading concert cancellations and postponements have disrupted orchestras and opera companies. I worked with seven organizations just yesterday on crafting announcements, developing patron options, and beginning a recovery plan. No two were alike; each had its own set of circumstances. Your situation will also be unique, and I am pleased to share the experiences of this past week to help you find a response specific for you. We will be offering this service FREE to orchestras, opera companies, and festivals beginning immediately. Please feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . (I will be available even over this weekend. Timing is critical.) I can promise that your challenges will spark creative thinking and solutions that will last beyond this difficult period. I am delighted to help during this difficult time. www.CRStager.com
  • “With the expanding number of performance cancellations and postponements for arts organizations, there is a rapidly-growing need to raise additional funds. So, now through March 31, RSC is eager to offer a FREE 1-hour phone consultation session that will allow us to explore your current situation and then provide actionable steps that you can take to raise contributed funds during this difficult time. Speaking with over a dozen clients this week, we have crafted several customized fundraising approaches to help replace the unexpected loss in revenue. If your organization is in a similar situation, RSC wants to be part of the solution. This is RSC’s way of giving back in a time of need, so if we can assist your organization, please reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or visit our website at www.rscfundraising.com.” 

Beth Kanter
A curated collection
Covid-19 Nonprofit & Philanthropy Resources

Big Duck (communications and fundraising firm)

Capacity Interactive

CCS Fundraising

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

PR Boutiques International

Robert Swaney Consulting

TRG Arts 

Turn Two Communications

The Veritus Group

 


International Artists and Travel by Orchestras

The coronavirus is impacting international tours and engagements with international artists travelling to the U.S. As communicated by public health officials, it is important to separate facts from fear and guard against stigma. Following are resources regarding travel advisories and global cases of the coronavirus.

Artists from Abroad Update: Coronavirus 30-Day Ban on Travel to U.S. for Europe’s Schengen Area Citizens Effective March 14, 2020

CDC Risk Assessment by Country

Johns Hopkins Global Case Tracker

 


Streaming and Online Learning Events

Orchestras are rapidly considering how they can continue to serve their communities through streamed concerts and digital learning events. An agreement has been reached between the leaders of many U.S. orchestras and the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the musicians’ union, which will allow orchestras whose communities are impacted by the COVID-19 crises to more easily offer audio or audio-visual streaming of certain performances to their audiences. As a service of the League, member orchestras with questions about planning, strategy, and production may contact electronic media consultants, Michael Bronson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Joe Kluger at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 


Business Continuity and Infectious Disease Planning for Events

How Futurists Cope With Uncertainty–This is a tool you can use to see plausible future states early from Amy Webb, a renowned futurist who spoke at the League’s 2016 Conference.

The Event Safety Alliance hosted a March 4 webinar outlining eight steps that should be taken by organizations that host public events. The guidance is specific to the coronavirus outbreak, and also describes emergency preparation strategies that are important to adopt on an ongoing basis. 

 


CDC Coronavirus Planning Guides

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have issued guidance to help businesses and employers prepare for the potential spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the United States. The CDC has prepared materials specifically for employers, and community-based organizations. Here is a collection of current resources: