CCO COVID-19 Safety Plan

COVID-19 Safety Plan (the Plan)

The purpose of the plan is to provide adequate and appropriate controls to mitigate the spread of illness from the COVID-19 pandemic during CCO activities, including rehearsals and performances.  It is used in conjunction with the CCO Vaccination Policy.

The CCO Covid-19 Safety Committee (the Committee) leads the development and implementation of the COVID-19 Safety Plan. The members of the Committee and their contact information are attached as Appendix 1 to this Plan.

The Plan seeks to minimize risks for everyone attending any CCO indoor activities, including orchestra members, volunteers, guest musicians, contractors and sub-contractors, and anyone attending a CCO indoor activity (collectively referred to as “the Attendees”).

This Plan applies whenever and wherever a CCO indoor event is held, including indoor rehearsals, ensemble performances, concerts, meetings, and all other group gatherings held indoors for CCO’s purposes (“the Event”) and applies at all venues where that Event takes place (“Event Space”).


Each week, the Committee will check the websites for government updates and new information to maintain a current understanding of all relevant COVID-19 regulations and local orders and instructions.

The CCO Covid-19 Safety Committee will communicate with orchestra members and volunteers to provide clear information and instruction, using:

  • Email
  • Virtual meetings

 Questions or concerns can be directed to a member of the Committee (see appendix).  

A complete, current copy of the plan shall be kept with Committee Members and one will be available at each CCO Event.

A one-page summary of the Plan (including instructions on how to request access to the complete plan) shall be posted at the following conspicuous locations:

  • On the website
  • At the CCO Event
  • The Summary is attached as Appendix 3

The Committee shall distribute the Plan by email to CCO members and volunteers.

When there are changes to COVID-19 regulations and local Orders and Instructions, the Committee shall promptly meet and determine if changes are relevant to CCO activities.  If so, then the Committee will

  • Review updates with the Board and Music Director to assess impact on planned activities.
  • Revise the relevant section(s) of the Plan.
  • Send an email update and Plan revisions to the orchestra members and volunteers.

The Committee shall ensure orchestra members and volunteers are trained on any new activities required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before the first CCO Event and whenever significant changes are required after the first Event.

Where necessary, the Committee shall hold safety talks with orchestra members to review planned activities, potential COVID-19 hazards (for example, lack of physical distancing in tasks or sharing equipment), and corresponding precautions.

The Committee shall post notices required by public health or other government regulations, including:

  • Maximum occupancy for the Event Space
  • Workplace posters (Government of Ontario)
  • Local public health posters (City of Toronto)

There are resources available for financial, mental health, and other supports from the Government of Ontario – see Appendix 2 for some of these links.


The CCO has approved a Vaccination Policy that is available through the Committee or the Board of Directors and is posted on the CCO website. 

Following both the Vaccination Policy and this Safety Policy, anyone seeking to attend a CCO Event must first:

  • show proof of full vaccination to a co-chair of the Committee
  • sign a Risk Acknowledgement
  • provide the Committee with contact information for contact tracing purposes

The Committee shall add the Attendee’s name to a List of Eligible Attendees once the three pre-conditions in paragraph 3.1.2 have been satisfied.

On the day of each Event, and before entering the Event Space, each Attendee must complete a COVID Screening form. This form is available electronically in Google forms and should be completed a few hours before the Event whenever possible.  

The Attendee will be barred from entering the Event Space if the COVID Screening Form is not completed or if the answers to it show risk of transmission of COVID 19.

The Committee shall retain attendance records and completed Screening Forms for a period of 30 days following the Event for purposes of contact tracing, and the Committee may be required to share that information with public health authorities or with management of the Event Space. After 30 days the forms will be destroyed.

Preventing Transmission

The risk of getting COVID-19 is higher with a longer period of contact, indoors, and with closer proximity to others.  All feasible controls should be implemented to maintain distance and to minimize the number of extended interactions within two metres.


All Attendees at an Event must wear masks throughout the Event unless eating, drinking, or playing a wind or brass instrument.

Hand and Respiratory Hygiene

Everyone should follow general hygiene practices such as frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer, and coughing/sneezing into their elbow.

CCO will provide hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) at the door of every Event.

The Event Space is responsible for making sure supplies of soap and paper towels are maintained. A designated volunteer will tour the Event Space prior to the opening of the Event and will ensure these essentials are in place.

Physical Distancing

Make best efforts to maintain physical distancing according to provincial guidelines during all tasks, including onstage and backstage during rehearsal and performance.

When physical distancing is not possible:

  • Stop, tell a member of the Committee and discuss how to adapt the task and/or use personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face shields.
  • Consider how the required work can be done more safely, perhaps with a smaller crew, perhaps by dividing the tasks and performing them consecutively. The goal is to reduce the number of close interactions.

For performances, musicians must be a distance of 2 metres from any patrons.

Only essential orchestra members, conductor, hosts and production crew will be allowed in the backstage and onstage areas. No visitors are allowed.

Wind and brass musicians in particular are required to be physically distant (2m) from other musicians and one another.

Breaks during CCO Events

During the break, Attendees must leave the playing area and are encouraged to go outdoors if possible. Doors and windows will be opened where the Event Space permits to encourage air circulation.

If taking breaks indoors, physical distancing must be maintained.

Everyone will bring their own filled water bottles.

There will be no shared beverages, food or serving items.

At the end of an Event, Attendees must take home any personal food containers and dispose of food waste in appropriate garbage bins.  The Event Space must be left tidy.

Music Precautions

Singing and playing wind and brass instruments are considered higher risk activities because COVID-19 is likely to spread through respiratory droplets and aerosols resulting from deep breathing and forceful exhalation. Environmental factors such as ventilation and air currents may also affect dispersion of droplets and aerosols. There is currently no evidence to determine exactly what a safe distance would be between singers, wind and brass players and others, but greater distances can reduce risk.

Where possible, spaces in addition to the playing space should be made available to the Attendees to allow for appropriate distancing.  Also, during breaks it may be necessary to open front of house areas, including washrooms, because of inadequate facilities backstage.

Chairs and stands should be spaced for physical distancing while allowing for reasonable adjustment for sight lines.

Each person should have his, her or their own parts and music stand whenever possible. Percussion assignments may need to be re-evaluated to minimize the sharing.

Once music is distributed, each person should be responsible for bringing those parts to each Event.

Masking remains the best way of reducing potential infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space.

To help with cleaning, Attendees will remove all personal items at the end of each Event and the Event Space should be left tidy.

Musical instruments

  • To avoid congestion backstage around a common case storage area, instruments should be brought onstage in their cases and the closed cases stored either under the seat or beside the musician.
  • Large instrument cases should be stored in an area designated for that purpose with adequate spacing and access restricted to the owners of the instruments.
  • Individuals are responsible for bringing, removing, cleaning and disinfecting (as applicable) their own music stands, instrument stands, reed trays, back rests, accessories etc.  
  • Musicians who have borrowed a CCO music stand are responsible for wiping that stand before leaving the Event Space.  Wipes will be provided.
  • Where the Event Space provides the chairs, the CCO expects the chairs to be clean. However, the designated volunteer at the Event will have wipes available should any Attendee wish to wipe down the chair that has been provided by the Event Space.

Wind and brass instruments

  • Musicians need to be aware that droplets produced by wind and brass players may be dispersed through ways other than blowing into the instrument such as:
    • Emptying the moisture from the instrument
    • Cleaning out instruments with feathers or swabs
    • Blowing into the tone holes or spit valves to clear out moisture
    • Blowing into the mouthpiece when removed from the instrument to clear out moisture
    • Releasing air from the sides of the mouth
  • Use of large, well-ventilated spaces should be prioritized.
  • Wind and brass musicians should maintain a physical distance of 2m from one another and from other musicians.
  • Masking remains the best way of reducing potential infected aerosol from circulating in an indoor space. When not playing their instrument, wind and brass musicians must wear a mask.
  • Bell covers and slitted masks are optional for brass and wind players but they must be as distanced as possible, preferably 2 metres apart.  Where the Event Space requires bell covers, we must abide by the rules there.
  • Brass and wind musicians must bring and use absorbent cloth or disposable pads to catch and contain condensation from their instrument. They must not empty instrument condensation on a bare floor surface. The musicians will remove the condensation pads after the Event and either take them home or dispose of them in a designated bin.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

In order to minimize high-touch, shared surfaces requiring cleaning and disinfecting, these protocols will be followed:

  • Areas will be provided for Attendees to place personal belongings.
  • Whenever possible, instruments, equipment and tools should not be shared to minimize the need for cleaning and disinfecting between use
  • Tasks should be planned and assigned to minimize shared surfaces

To prevent damage, the following items should only be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and, if possible, should not be shared:

  • Musical instruments
  • Control equipment, including audio and lighting
  • Microphones, headsets and radios
    • All Attendees are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting personal musical instruments and other equipment.  Shared instruments and equipment shall be cleaned and disinfected before and after each use.
  • If a there is a potential case or suspected exposure to COVID-19, Public Health may provide instructions for deep cleaning.

Ventilation and Air Flow

CCO should hold Events outdoors whenever possible.  CCO will consider ventilation when selecting Event Spaces and will select Event Spaces with good ventilation that can be improved with outside air circulation during breaks.

4.7.2    In order to minimize aerosol exposure in the Event Space and to allow for set-up and for the check-in procedures required under this Plan, Attendees will not be admitted to the playing space until 15 minutes before the Event starts (except for orchestra setup volunteers). 

4.7.3    The venue is responsible for the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in indoor areas.  Attendees should:

  • Keep areas near HVAC inlets and outlets clear
  • Arrange furniture away from air vents and high airflow areas

Response to a Potential Case or Suspected Exposure

The volunteer designated by the Committee for an Event will determine where a person may self-isolate if he, she or they begin experiencing symptoms that might be COVID-19. This area should be identified/communicated to everyone present at the location.

Outside of an Event, if anyone involved with the CCO informs a Committee member that he, she or they is experiencing the symptoms of Covid-19, or had close contact with someone with symptoms, the person will be directed to take a self-assessment questionnaire and to follow any recommendations given by the tool, including being tested and self-isolating. The Committee member will ask that person to please follow up with a Co-Chair about the results and will treat these discussions as confidential. 

If an Attendee shows symptoms during an Event, a member of the Committee or the designated volunteer shall:

  • Ensure the Attendee is physically removed to a safe place within the Event Space, possibly the previously identified isolation space, as soon as possible and remains masked if possible.
  • If the person is very ill or is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.
  • Ask the Attendee if a friend or family member should be contacted, at the Event Space or elsewhere, and contact that person
  • If the Attendee is well enough to travel, advise the Attendee to go home, self-isolate, and contact his, her or their doctor or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) to discuss testing and self-isolation
  • Assist the Attendee in returning home as necessary, such as paying taxi fare, or dealing with with the Attendee’s car, or notifying someone at the Attendee’s home, etc.
  • After the Attendee has left the Event Space, make comprehensive notes of the incident and report the incident to a Committee Co-Chair or a member of the Board of Directors.

The Committee shall:

  • Follow-up with the ill Attendee
  • Contact Public Health for additional advice if needed.

Questions or Concerns about this Policy

Should you have any questions or concerns about this Policy or how it applies to you, please contact any member of the Committee or a member of the CCO Board of Directors.