Portland Opera & COVID-19 | Updates

Navigating COVID-19 at Portland Opera

Covid-19 Resources in Oregon:

    • Vaccines are the best way to stay safe. If you are not currently vaccinated, or need to schedule your booster dose, you can find out when, where, and how to get a FREE COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot HERE.

    • Did you lose your vaccination card? You can request a copy of your vaccination record HERE.

As a leading convener for arts and culture in the Portland metro area and Oregon, Portland Opera is continuing to develop protocols, practices, and plans to keep our audiences, artists, employees, staff, and collaborators safe. Our goal remains to assist in containing the spread of the virus, while advocating for the long-term health of our organization, and the well-being of the many wonderful people who constitute Portland Opera.

Portland Opera designs our events and performances to adhere to local, county, state, and national guidance. We all know that guidance, trends, and mandates can change quickly, and we do our best to navigate those changes and adapt while maintaining our commitment to health, safety, and flexibility.

As part of the company’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of the staff, artists, ensemble, and audience members, Portland Opera has engaged a team of medical advisors to review all safety procedures and protocols, ensuring the company is in line with the best and current medical advice on an ongoing basis.

The company has also upgraded the HVAC system and transformed the Hampton Opera Center into a digital studio, allowing for unique production of content for broadcast. The changes to our physical spaces have also served as safe and socially distanced rehearsal and event activation centers.

Patron Health & Safety Protocols
  • Best practices for safety. Our team continues to work closely with peer organizations locally, regionally, and through national forums to standardize guidelines for safely rehearsing and producing productions, and welcoming audiences; while continuing to monitor guidance and recommendations from leaders and scholars for everyone’s protection.
  • Masks are recommended at Portland Opera performances. Our ticketing policies are updated often to reflect safety measures for COVID-19. We reserve the right to share changes or add entrance requirements. We've also updated our policies to be more flexible for patrons who are ill, exposed, or unable to attend. These policies may change at any time. You can review the updated policy here

Employees, Artists & Musicians | Protections & Policies
  • The staff of Portland Opera continues to follow a hybrid schedule, and gather onsite at our offices for essential in-person activities. Need to contact us? You can view our staff directory.

  • Opera is an intimate art form, and we continue to work with artists, managers, and union representatives to monitor guidance, scholarly recommendations, and best practices to protect all collaborators.

  • We’ve made adjustments to our HR policies to continue to follow national guidance about time away from the office due to illness, childcare needs, and more. Our Administration continues to employ new policies and changing guidance to help staff members navigate options and support, including mental health support and wellness programs.
Workforce Management & Employee/Artist Relations
  • As one of the leading arts employers in the state of Oregon, we know that cancellations and decreased work opportunities impact many households and individuals. We’ve consistently followed the state and local mandates for closures and are trying to mitigate the impact for our employees.

  • Artist Updates: Throughout this process, and from day one of mandated cancellations, we’ve worked diligently with unions and artists to honor compensation for cancelled contracts to the best of our ability, and we continue to remain in communication with all parties about how to balance the desire for work and the safety of our musicians and artists.

  • Staff Updates: In November, 2019 we began implementation of core focus areas of our strategic plan, and aligned our staffing structure in support of our goals—in some cases eliminating or redefining roles. As a result of our 19/20 season cancellations, we proceeded with additional staffing reductions in March of 2020 and January of 2021. In June of 2020 we enacted another workforce management adjustment, in order to keep the company financially solvent through this crisis. Our staff members activated leaves of absences and/or followed reduced schedules in partnership with Oregon’s WorkShare program.
Strategic Planning & Long-term Fiscal Health
  • As we adjust course with public programming schedules, our team remains committed to ensuring a bright future for Portland Opera.

    • We are focused on fiscal responsibility as we navigate this crisis. We are working with industry leaders to adjust forecasts for next season, and beyond, while we monitor trends. We have joined regional and national cohorts to delve into research about the needs of our community members and patrons, and we have taken action to manage expenses during this interval.

    • We are focused on strategic planning milestones and benchmarks, including a renewal of our commitment to our mission and values. We’re implementing projects to transform our ticketing and e-commerce platforms, offer additional community engagement options for the future, and more. You can learn more about strategic planning progress here.

Funding & Assistance
  • To keep Portland Opera operational while we have had to remain shuttered, we have applied for various federal grants, Small Business Association loans, and payroll protection program loan forgiveness programs, with varying success. In July of 2020, members of Oregon’s Legislative Emergency Board approved more than $200 million from federal coronavirus relief for numerous programs and organizations throughout the state. $50 million was allocated for arts, cultural, and heritage organizations affected by the shutdowns from COVID-19. Portland Opera is among the recipients named in this legislation, with relief funding in the amount of $875,000.

  • Without the generous support from our patrons, foundations, and the federal government, Portland Opera would not be able to continue offering public and educational programming during the pandemic. This funding has enabled us to partially honor our commitments to artists, unions, and administrative staff without jeopardizing reserve funds. This funding has also allowed us to hire artists, musicians, and staff to continue public programs like Opera a la Cart and the Polka Dot concerts; develop digital curricula with teaching artists for Opera Elements; upgrade HVAC and physical plant procedures for safe rehearsal environments; plan for community collaborations and events; safely produce our outdoor production of Frida, and begin to ramp up our critical staffing levels while balancing workforce management changes. 

If you have questions about this, please contact Richard Seals, Chief Financial Officer, at rseals@portlandopera.org.