Last updated March 16, 2020

A Message from OPERA America

We are deeply concerned about the spread of COVID-19 across the country and its impact on all the individuals and organizations that contribute to the vibrancy of our art form and our field. The cancellation of performances and entire productions – some of which have been years in the making – is profoundly disappointing. The sudden suspension of seasons deprives our communities of the "social proximity" we need more than ever to find common purpose as a society. Reduced work will have the greatest immediate impact on the artists, artisans and support staff who are paid by performance, or on an hourly basis – and on all the businesses that depend on arts audiences for their livelihoods.

OPERA America works collaboratively with a number of other wonderful national arts service organizations, many of which have shared links to resources that can provide current information and access to assistance. We will update this list regularly, and invite all visitors to this site to introduce us to new sources of support. Also included, below, is a list of performance/production cancellations across the field. Once again, please notify us of additional announcements.

Finally, we include a link to our most recent Advocacy Alert. Please add your voice to the growing chorus asking Congress to include nonprofit cultural organizations and artists in any legislation that will provide relief to individuals and institutions of all sizes.

Overview of COVID Paid Leave and Employer Relief Provisions

New information is available from the federal agencies responsible for administering the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law on March 18. Following is a top-line overview with direct links to information available from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Both agencies are expected to release more details during the week of March 22, which should provide answers to questions opera companies will have about how the requirements and relief apply to staff, artists and independent contractors who are not able to work due to rehearsal and performance cancellations; inability to telework; and other impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. OPERA America will keep you informed as to when those details become available.

Mandated Paid Leave for Employees: Employers with up to 500 employees will be required to provide expanded sick leave and family medical leave for specific reasons related to COVID-19, including federal, state and local government quarantines or isolation orders, caring for a child whose school has closed, and more. By April 2, the U.S. Department of Labor must write the guidelines for implementation, and it will also set the date on which the requirements take effect. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Labor has posted an overview of coronavirus-related topics and an outline of the paid leave requirements.

Relief for Employers: Those employers required to provide emergency paid leave are eligible to recover the costs of employee leave and health insurance through a refundable payroll tax credit for which nonprofits are eligible. Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be eligible for an exemption from paid leave requirements if providing the paid leave threatens the viability of the organization. The U.S. Department of the Treasury is currently writing further guidelines for implementation. In the meantime, the agency has provided an overview of employer relief provisions.

Paid Leave for Self-Employed Workers: The law provides for equivalent emergency paid sick leave and family medical leave for self-employed workers through an individual refundable tax credit. The U.S. Department of Treasury is currently writing guidelines for how self-employed individuals may claim the credit. Guidelines are expected to be released the week of March 22.

In addition to sharing updates about these provisions, OPERA America will keep you informed about further COVID-19 relief currently being shaped by the federal government. It is important to note that the next relief package, slated for a vote by Congress on Monday, March 23, may include Small Business Administration Disaster Loans (accessible to nonprofit organizations) with incentives to keep workers on the payroll, such as comprehensive loan forgiveness.

Health and Data (compiled by Independent Sector)

World Health Organization: Corona disease (COVID-19) Outbreak

Updated articles regarding WHO responses to COVID-19, links to advice, Q&A, reports, resources, guidance, R&D.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Coronavirus Updates and Data Sheet

Updates on affected countries, resources for contingency planning, testing.

American Cancer Society: Coronavirus FAQ

FAQ guide for Fast Facts About COVID-19 including external links and resources on how to understand/combat the virus.

National Institute of Health: Resources for Global Public Health

Detailed source for global health and public health officials and organizations

U.S. Department of State: Hub for Travel Warnings and Americans Abroad

Deep dive of travel warnings and risk-benefits of nonessential international travel

AARP: What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus

The resource goes in-depth explaining processes to stay healthy during the pandemic, how the U.S. is responding, symptoms, and links to more articles (including Q&A with experts, older adults, face masks)

American Heart Association: Coronavirus Precautions for Patients, others in High-Risk Category

Guide for heart patients and other patients with underlying conditions including but not limited to heart disease, hypertension, and asthma.

Sector Response (compiled by Independent Sector)

Bridgespan: Managing through Tough Times

Resources on creative new approaches to management as we enter into uncharted territory.

Council of Foundations: COVID-19 Resource Hub

Hub with updated links regarding council announcements, latest news on coronavirus, resources for best practices for responding to COVID-19, and a page to share how your org is responding.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: COVID-19 Declared a Pandemic

Updated hub related to global effect, where to help fund, and articles linking to the overall response to COVID-19 focused on disaster philanthropic giving.

Northern California Grantmakers: 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19): Philanthropic Response

An updated list of events related to how to respond/discuss COVID-19 with the option to register, guidance and short descriptions on “how you can help,” along with additional resources.

National Council of Nonprofits: The Nonprofit Community Confronts the Coronavirus

Outlining how the sector has reacted to COVID-19 and resources for how to move forward (external resources from state associations of nonprofits), day to day advice and the “encouraging civility.”

Minnesota Council of Nonprofits: What Nonprofits need to know

Expansive collation of resources not just for MN-area/ affiliated nonprofits, contains extremely useful information to combat potential racist and prejudiced incidents

Events Industry Council: About Corona Virus

Resources focused on COVID-19 effect on events with niche videos, external resources to understand the virus, short term implications and concerns, insurance policies, and ways to work around the coronavirus with having to work with people in person (meetings, events, etc.).


Support Economic Assistance for Nonprofit Opera Companies and Artists Impacted by COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread in the United States, public guidance advises vulnerable populations to stay home and some performance venues have been required to close. The resulting cancellation of operas and other public events will have very real financial consequences for singers, musicians, designers and others, not only from the loss of income from ticket sales and reduced opportunities for artists to work, but also from lost contributed revenue as donors reassess their capacity to give due to the stock market’s volatility.

During Economic Highs and Lows, the Arts Are Key Segment of U.S. Economy

According to the latest data issued today by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts, the arts remain a vital component of the U.S. economy.

COVID-19 Congressional Action

A bipartisan relief package is moving through Congress that includes support for individuals and nonprofits.

OPERA America Advocacy Message to Congress

The federal government is considering new forms of economic relief, and eligibility for nonprofit opera companies and artists is essential. It will be likely that opera companies and other nonprofit organizations will need to enlist the help of elected officials to access any relief that may become available, so those relationships need to be developed or strengthened now.

NEA FAQ for Applicants and Current Grantees

Additional Resources

Alternate ROOTS
Americans for the Arts
Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP)
Capacity Interactive
Covid-19 Freelance Artist Tools
CUE Art Foundation
Fisher Dachs Associates
League of American Orchestras
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)
Theatre Communications Group (TCG)

Resource Tracker

In addition to the above resource aggregators, below is a list of direct links for artists, organizations, or both, which will be updated regularly as well. If you learn of resources that are specific to helping those in the performing arts, please send them to for addition to this list.

Cancellations and Postponements

Please email Alex Ganes, research manager ( with any additions, updates or corrections to the below listings.

Paid Leave Overview
Health and Data
Sector Responses
Additional Resources
Resource Tracker
Cancellations/Postponements List

Please note that this is a fluid situation and the resources listed will change as more information becomes available.
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