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Safety Protocols for Live Events and FAQ

Your Health and Safety Comes First

Last updated May 11, 2021

We will always put the health and safety of our audiences first and foremost as we look forward to returning to live performances. 

All protocols will be developed in consultation with public health officials at the University of Michigan, with additional guidance from the State of Michigan. 

While protocols may change as we get closer to live events, we ask all audience members to do their part to create a safe environment for everyone. We’ll continue to monitor and update our policies to match public health guidelines at the time of each event.

As of late April 2021, audiences should expect to:

  • Wear a face mask at all times in all venues, including during performances
  • Respect social distancing and limit physical contact
  • Follow all health and safety protocols of the venues, regardless of vaccination status

UMS and University of Michigan venues may put additional public health and safety measures in place according to the guidelines in place at the time of each event. These include:

  • Enforcement of current health and safety protocols
  • Flexible exchange and refund policies (to encourage those who are not feeling well to stay home)
  • Enhanced air filtration systems in all venues (more information below), as well as cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces
  • Reduced seating capacities (as determined by current State of Michigan guidelines), with seating offered in household groups

If you’re not feeling well, please stay home! In an effort to encourage audience members who are ill to stay home, UMS will offer flexibility in ticket returns, including credit for future performances, ticket donations, and refunds.

Because of the potential for seating capacity restrictions to change, we will assign subscription seats for individual performances no later than one month before each performance based on the seating section and original order date. 

Given the ever-evolving guidance from state public health officials, please make sure that we have a current email address for you in our database so that we can continue to communicate with you about seating.

Health and Safety FAQ

How are health & safety policies determined?
UMS will continue to follow CDC, State of Michigan, and University of Michigan guidance. We also regularly consult with public health officials at the University of Michigan in determining the best practices for convening people safely

What will be expected for audience members attending live events in the 2021/22 season?
We’ll be asking for everyone’s cooperation this coming season as active participants in the health and safety measures that will allow us to return to live performance. We anticipate that we will all need to be flexible, as well as patient and understanding, over the coming months to respond to current conditions. By purchasing a ticket, you are agreeing to adhere to the health and safety measures in place at the time of each performance. UMS will contact all ticket buyers via email with details about those measures in advance of the performance.

Audiences will be expected to follow all health and safety protocols regardless of vaccination status or proof of a negative COVID test. Check back here for the most up-to-date information as we get closer to live events.

Will I have to wear a mask even if I’m vaccinated?
As of April 2021, we anticipate requiring masks that cover the mouth and nose in venues and during performances, regardless of vaccination status. However, we also recognize that as vaccination rates increase, guidance from public health officials may change to match current conditions.

If you are not wearing a mask upon arrival, one will be provided for you.

What is the ventilation like in the venues?
The Facilities Office at the University of Michigan has provided this information:

Hill Auditorium, the Power Center, Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, Rackham Auditorium, and Arthur Miller Theatre all have excellent ventilation.

U-M's standard of filtration in these performance halls meets the CDC and ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) guidance for COVID-19.

U-M uses a MERV 13 filter in our facilities' air-handling systems. Our venues provide at least four air changes per hour (ACH) and can range up to eleven ACH. Our sophisticated Building Automation Systems have the capability, when audiences are present, to increase outside air intake when outside temperatures do not require excessive heating or cooling. We also operate our ventilation systems for a minimum of two hours before occupancy, and two hours after occupancy, to ensure full purging of air in those spaces.

How will UMS enforce health and safety protocols?
UMS will have dedicated personnel to ensure compliance with any protocols that are in place and will remove audience members who refuse to comply.

Will UMS require vaccine verification and/or certification of a negative COVID test to attend live performances?
The short answer is no, that is not our intention at this time. We strongly encourage anyone who intends to attend live performances to get a vaccine or a negative COVID test before coming, but we will not require proof of either to ensure equitable access to our performances for everyone.

Our surveys of our audience members, both specifically at UMS and arts attendees broadly within the Southeast Michigan community, indicate an extraordinarily high level of people either already vaccinated or intending to get the vaccine as soon as they are able. Fewer than 1% respond that they ‘definitely’ won’t get the vaccine.

We will continue to offer risk-fee ticket exchanges and refunds to encourage anyone who is not feeling well not to attend a live performance.



Ticketing FAQ

I want to sit in my regular Choral Union/Chamber Arts Series seats. Will I be able to do so?
We will ‘save’ subscribers’ seats from the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons and will renew those same locations going into the 2022/23 season.

For the 2021/22 season, we will do our best to seat you as close as we can to your regular seats, while maintaining any necessary distancing requirements between households.

When will I know where I’m sitting / when will tickets be mailed?
Because conditions continue to change rapidly, we will be seating people no later than one month prior to the date of an in-person event. This will allow us to respond to current conditions with respect to distancing and/or capacity limitations.

Seating will happen with the same priority order as we always do, with subscribers and donors seated first, followed by single ticket buyers. We’ll send a notification to you when tickets are sent out (via mail or email).

Please make sure that we have an email address on file for you, and that you are able to receive UMS emails (if you haven’t received one recently, call our Ticket Office or email us at to verify).

If you don’t have an email account, please call our Ticket Office at 734-764-2538 to be added to a list of people we call with updates.

When is Single Ticket Day?
Given that the season doesn’t begin until late November, Single Ticket Day will take place the day after Labor Day this year — on Tuesday, September 7.
Will Student tickets, Kids Club tickets, and Senior Rush tickets still be available?
Student tickets will definitely be available and will go on sale sometime in September. Kids Club tickets will depend on capacity restrictions and current health conditions, but we hope to have some available for each concert. Senior Rush has always been dependent on whether any seats remain on the day of the concert, and that will continue to be the case.
What about group sales?
Given the current recommendations for distancing and group sizes, we will not put group tickets on sale until the fall, and then only if current conditions allow us to do so safely.

To be added to a group sales interest list, email or call 734-763-3100.

Will I be able to get a refund if I’m not feeling well?
We have suspended our regular ticket exchange policy in favor of a more flexible approach. If you’re not feeling well or are uncomfortable attending while pandemic conditions exist, we’ll offer options for exchanges into future programs, ticket donations, and refunds.
Will events be livestreamed or available online?
Our commitment to digital events will continue, again at no cost. We’re planning for a variety of digital experiences: some that will enhance our live events, some that will stand alone in the digital space, with a few surprises along the way. Because digital planning horizons are shorter than live events, we’ll be announcing our digital presentations throughout the year. We don’t anticipate that we will be livestreaming our mainstage events but will instead be developing digital offerings that complement our live performances (rather than replace them).
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