Wardrobe

General instructions on physical distancing of 1–2 m from other people and hand hygiene (soap washing and sanitiser), as well as general coronavirus cleaning instructions (wiping of contact surfaces with a basic all-purpose cleaner and, if necessary, disinfectant, at least daily) and continuous, adequate ventilation are also valid for the work of wardrobe and dressers.

  • The exceptional situation calls for changes in the working culture in the performing arts sector: all close contacts must be reduced, the social working culture changed and there should be a lower threshold to stay at home sick.
  • An employee with the symptoms of the illness cannot come to work. After the illness there must be one completely asymptomatic day. We recommend continuing a procedure in which employees can notify employers themselves about staying at home sick.
  • We recommend dividing the workplace into teams (or “families”) which colleagues do not change between and in which they avoid contact with other teams’ members.

We also recommend these measures for wardrobe work:

In fittings:

  • Both the fitter and actor must wash hands with soap water or use hand sanitizers before the fitting begins.
  • A fitter or actor with symptoms may not take part in the fitting. After the illness there must be one completely asymptomatic day.
  • Spaces and passageways should be cleaned daily in accordance with the general cleaning instructions
  • We recommend that fittings be done only to a predetermined schedule to avoid queues and group formations in corridors or a fitting space. Actors wait their time in the hallway.
  • We recommend the use of mouth-nose mask, visor or breath protection for both the performer and the adapter in costume fittings. The equipment must be put on before entering the room. If the visor is not disposable, the outer surface and contact points of the visor should be disinfected at each break and washed daily with soapy water. Please note that the use of protective equipment is decided on a case-by-case basis on the basis of the employer’s risk assessment.
  • We recommend avoiding unnecessary face-to-face conversation in fittings.
  • We recommend breaks between fittings so people can take a break from the use of any protective equipment, especially in hot weather. At the same time, the fitting room can be aired.
  • We recommend that only necessary persons are in the space during the fitting.
  • If it is necessary to fit a costume for more than one person, we recommend spraying it with alcohol or other disinfectant suitable for fabric.

In wardrobe maintenance:

  • Please note that there is no scientific evidence of the effectiveness of ozone cabinets against coronavirus and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare has instructed that they should not be used.[1]
  • Please note that there is no evidence that sweat spreads the coronavirus.
  • The risk of exposure in wardrobe handling is low if hand hygiene is observed .
  • In close contact, we recommend that members of other teams use mouth-nose protection/face visor/breath protector. Please note that the use of protective equipment is decided on a case-by-case basis on the basis of the employer’s risk assessment.
  • We recommend that laundry baskets and transport trolleys be gently washed with alkaline detergent.
  • We recommend that the fluffing of dirty laundry should be avoided, and that it is sorted and washed with a mask for dusty work. For handling clearly dirty clothing or clothing with secretions, we recommend wearing gloves. After handling the laundry, wash your hands. Please note that the use of protective equipment is decided on a case-by-case basis on the basis of the employer’s risk assessment.
  • 70°C washing or disinfecting detergent kills the virus; lower washing temperatures reduce the number of viruses and require longer washing time to destroy the virus.[2]
  • We recommend that non-essential washings and repairs are performed only after the costumes have been allowed to rest untouched for several hours. In the case of immediate handling, we recommend the use of a mouth-nose mask or breath protector in case of dusty work or a visibly dirty/special suit.
  • The virus’s ability to live and infect begins to decrease as soon as it leaves the human body. The longer a product is unused, the safer it is in coronavirus terms.
  • The instructions will be revised if new research data on washing temperatures and garment care become available.

Dressing on stage:

  • In close contact with other teams, we recommend using mouth-nose mask/breath protector/visor. Please note that the use of protective equipment is decided on a case-by-case basis on the basis of the employer’s risk assessment.
  • After each dress change, we recommend washing or disinfecting hands if possible. However, it is not necessary to disinfect between each switch when zipping up clothing from behind or other actions in the actor’s back area.
  • We recommend that the actors dress themselves as far as possible and that the performers help each other, to reduce contact with other team members.

In sewing workshops:

  • Co-operated devices must be cleaned before use, by wiping them with a mild alkaline detergent or alcohol-containing cleaner.
  • We recommend that there is a limited number of people at a time in small spaces to achieve a physical distancing (1–2 m).
  • We recommend that space be divided by plexiglass or screens if physical distancing is not possible.

General about costumes:

  • If possible, shared outfits should not be worn in the same scene, so that they can be disinfected or washed. However, the risk of infection through sharing costumes is low.
  • Be careful of mixing the performers’ headgear with clothing that close to the face.

You can read an example of the safety instructions of the Helsinki City Theatre by following the links.

Sources:

[1] Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare 2020. Do not use ozonation to combat coronavirus. Accessed 27 April. https://thl.fi/fi/-/ala-kayta-otsonointia-koronan-torjuntaan

[2] Laitinen, Sirpa 2020. Actions required by coronavirus in theatre work. FIOH senior expert’s Power Point performance at the event on 3 June.

“Sufficient heat: more than +70°C for at least a few minutes destroys the virus. Lower washing temperatures reduce the number of viruses.

  • Use of detergent for at least 20-30 seconds reduces the amount.
  • Use of disinfectant as a solution for at least 0.5 to 1 minutes destroys the virus.
  • Alcohol (over 70%) (more than 60% in hand rinses)
  • Formaldehyde (over 1: 1000)
  • Sodium hypochlorite (over 0.05-0.1%)
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution (more than 0.5 %)”

Update information:

These instructions were updated on 18 June 2020 by the wardrobe subordinate working group, led by: Nina Virkki, Helsinki City Theatre (nina.virkki@hkt.fi). The following people also attended the group’s meetings: Nina Hanhisuo (Tampere Theatre), Katja Karjalainen (Finnish National Opera and Ballet), Emmi Vainio (Hämeenlinna Theatre), Kaisa Rautakoski (Svenska Teatern), Heli Hynynen (Finnish National Theatre), Suvi-Tuulia Meskus (Rovaniemi Theatre), Ellinor Hellström (Åbo Svenska Teatern, Turku) and Tiina Sivonen (Helsinki City Theatre).