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Risk Levels for projects

This chart is a living document, to be used to define the risk levels for common types of projects during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The goal of this chart is to outline and define the the different levels of risk that various common situations might pose to those working in the arts industry during the COVID-19. The intent of this document is to proved a common language and set of definitions to help reduce confusion in the planning stage of projects. Because of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 crisis, this chart may be updated to reflect the most current recommendations from city, state and federal sources. Nothing in this document is meant to supersede or contradict official recommendations issued through health agencies or other government entities.


Use of the language of the Risk Levels for Projects Document is voluntary,  but highly recommended. 

Download a pdf version of this document here.

Risk level 1: lowest risk

One to two employees (who are part of a designated team) working in a controlled environment with limited or no contact with others. Employee(s) able to practice social distancing at all times, can access facilities to wash hands or use hand sanitizer, are able to wear appropriate PPE.


  • Transport of the following between institution/company, warehouses or institutions in which a simple hand off can occur at the loading dock:

    • Consolidated collections/deliveries of packed or empty crates

    • Direct deliveries of packed or empty crates

    • Collections of packed crates from airport

    • Deliveries of packed crates to airport

  • Collections of pre-wrapped/packed works from galleries or similar institutions with ground floor access. Assumes no use of freight elevator required, unless exclusive use for staff can be arranged. Assumes no soft wrapping required by staff.

  • Curbside pick up of pre-wrapped/packed works from galleries or other institutions. 

    • Client’s staff brings the work out and hands off to transport staff curbside.

  • Curbside delivery of pre-wrapped/packed works from facility to galleries or other institutions. 

    • Transport staff hands off works to client’s staff curbside.

  • No couriers or accompanying riders beyond the designated team


  • Standard receive/release where a simple hand off of objects can occur 

  • Cargo screening, unsupervised

  • Crate demolition

  • Condition reporting, no supervisor

  • Simple de-crating and soft wrapping for delivery


  • Art Handler(s)/Technician(s) working in their own facility at assigned workstation

Risk level 2: moderate risk

Two employees working in an assigned team situation, in either a controlled or non-controlled environment. Employees are able to wear appropriate PPE, practice social distancing when possible, and wear additional PPE when social distancing cannot be observed. Employees can access facilities to wash hands or use hand sanitizer.


  • Collections requiring the following:

    • Simple soft wrapping of works that can easily fit into a single commercial bin. 

    • Soft-wrapping of oversized works that can easily be handled by two people. 

  • Assumes no use of freight elevator required, unless exclusive use for staff can be arranged.

  • Collections requiring soft wrapping of oversized works and requiring more than two handlers from locations with ample space for social distancing, i.e. large artist studios. 

    • Area MUST be large enough to accommodate the size of the largest artwork laid flat with six feet of space around each side OR full PPE must be worn (i.e. face shield, KN95). 

  • Assumes no use of freight elevator required unless elevator fits the same criteria

  • Simple residential installation onto existing hooks of multiple works that can easily be handled by two people. 

  • Assumes no use of freight elevator required, unless exclusive use for staff can be arranged.

  • No couriers or accompanying riders other than the designated team


  • Receive/Release - large volume of crates/objects

  • Facilities use: condition reporting with client supervision

  • De-crating larger crates, multiple handlers required

  • Soft wrapping large work, multiple handlers required

  • Screen crates with one courier/outside party.


  • Two Art Handlers/Technicians working in their facility together at a group workstation

  • Two Art Handlers/Technicians working at a known location that has been vetted for access to hand washing station, reciprocal agreement by their staff to follow safety guidelines, etc.

Risk level 3: high risk

Two or more designated teams or employees working in a non-controlled environment with non-staff or clients. Social distancing is not always possible, but appropriate PPE is worn by all persons. Access to facilities for hand washing may be limited or unavailable.


  • Collections or deliveries to high rise buildings that require staff to use a freight elevator in which social distancing cannot be observed

  • Collections of larger volumes of works to be soft wrapped or packed by more than two people

  • Collections of large/heavy objects requiring more than a two person crew

  • Complicated installations - any job requiring installation of hardware or use of ladders


  • Facilities use: viewing room

  • Receive/Release that requires assistance in truck


  • Two or more art handlers/technicians  working at an unvetted location (i.e. a residence or first-time client location)

  • Travel on public transportation, the use of a (shared) freight elevator, and contact with non-staff.

Risk level 4: highest risk/a return to pre-covid operations

Working  in larger groups, mixed groups, inability to practice social distancing, working in small, unventilated spaces with more than max occupancy based off 100 square feet per person.


  • Normal operations in various locations


  • Loading/Unloading of shipping containers


  • Measuring or packing a large volume of works that require more than one art handler in a space that does not allow for social distancing (i.e. a private residence with multiple smaller rooms, etc)

  • Travel to a location that requires a car with more than 1 person where the confines of the car do not allow for social distancing

Risk Levels for Projects Document version 1, published July 13th, 2020

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