Covid-19 Considerations August 28, 2020

Covid-19 Policies, Precautions, and Preparations for Revolutionary War Field Days, Camden 2020

Revolutionary War Field Days began its non-profit organization life in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Planning for this November event has factored in Covid-19 for every decision since the onset. One of the prime drivers of choosing a new location for our event was Covid-19 related; the desire to go to a larger venue to allow reenactors, volunteer staff, and visitors amenable to better social distancing than in previous years. Our new location also ensures that our event, other than porta-potty access, is entirely OUTDOORS for visitors. All our preparations have been designed to allow last minute cancellation of our event if medically indicated by future public health necessity.

We are using Accelerate SC and CDC guidelines to mitigate risk as much as possible. A little background on Accelerate SC. Accelerate SC was designed as a series of guidelines for safely introducing public gatherings back in South Carolina. However, Gov. McMaster later decided to take these guidelines and make them LAW. The biggest impact on us  from a planning perspective was that, under the new rules, gatherings larger than 250 people are ILLEGAL. RWFD then did create a “Plan B” to accommodate a smaller than initially planned reenactment event. HOWEVER, when wavers were obtainable through the SC Dept. of Commerce, we applied for one and have just received our waiver that allows us to have an event for 1,000-5,000 people/day. The waiver was granted in large part because we are an ALL OUTDOOR event, and on more than 24 acres of usable space for our event, our population density should be less than 1,000 people per acre. Additionally, we have implemented all suggested applicable measures to mitigate Covid-19 risk to have a positively memorable, fun, and safe event for participants and visitors alike.

We are fortunate that our Board Chairman, M. Tray Dunaway, MD, is a physician, and therefore was unanimously appointed, (and also because no one else wanted the thankless job), as our Covid-19 Prevention Coordinator for our event. He is giving us his best MEDICAL, not political, advise to reduce anyone attending our event from transmitting or contracting Covid-19.

Based on current best practice guidelines, (and please bear in mind these guidelines are by self -admission by both CDC and SC Accelerate, often intentionally vague because there is no “one size fits all” for a wide variety of indoor and outdoor events), here are our Covid-19 policies:

Social Distancing

We have a plan in place to encourage individuals who are not part of the same household to stay at least 6 feet apart before, during and after the event by addressing traffic flow. There is no seating for visitors (we are an all outdoor event with no accommodations for seating), but spectators are welcome to bring seating to use if there
is a 6-foot distance apart from other same household groups. Military encampments and formations will be modified to increase distancing between participants.

Ingress/egress protocols have been developed and have clearly designated entry and exit points to the event and for parking. We have created and planned to post visible guides, signs on the property to promote social distancing as well as printed material attending visitors will receive.

The wearing of masks or face coverings is a condition of admission and all will be encouraged to continue to use coverings after admission. This exceeds County requirements at this time, (August 18, 2020). All organizing staff, volunteer, vendors, food service personnel are contractually required to wear face coverings during the event. We encourage all participants to bring their own masks or face coverings, however, we may have a limited number of masks for sale on site. Visitors, however, should not depend on availability of masks at the event, particularly if they sell out. It is difficult to separate mask use from politics. The facts: A simple, non-N95 rated mask will not protect the wearer from a virus. However, as with social distancing, mask wearing should limit transmission of respiratory virus. This is not conjecture but evidenced based reality.
There are very little downsides to mask wearing. In other words, benefits of mask wearing outweigh risk of mask wearing. And one of the reasons we can hold our event is that people will be encouraged to wear masks. Wear a mask. Do yourself and others a favor. If you die because you were forced to wear a mask, we’ll refund your admission fee.

We will follow CDC/Accelerate SC guidelines of mask wearing:

 Cloth Face Coverings  

o Require the use of cloth face coverings among staff. Cloth face coverings are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult (e.g., when moving within a crowd or audience).
o Provide all staff with information on proper use of face coverings.  
o Advise staff that cloth face coverings should not be placed on:
            Babies or children younger than 2 years old
            Anyone who has trouble breathing
            Anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance. Even 18 th C. enemy troops.

o Encourage attendees ahead of the event to bring and use cloth face coverings at the event.
o Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks or respirators. They are not personal protective equipment. (PPE)
o Cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged in settings where individuals might raise their voice (e.g., shouting, chanting, singing, yelling invectives at 18 th C. enemy troops).

A “Touch-Free” Event”

We will endeavor to make the visitor experience “touch free” as much as possible by minimizing touch points where and when possible throughout their visit. From touch free admission availability through cashless options, visitors will not really be required to touch anything. (We will encourage you to touch your purchased t-shirt, however.) And  things like porta-potty touch areas, will be regularly disinfected.

Touchless Payment for admission as well as guided tours will be available online. We will have hand sanitizer at booths/tables where payments will be transacted if visitors did not purchase admission tickets online in advance. This also includes all vendors and participating organizations contractually as a requirement for participation in our event.

There is no “indoor” space for the general public, except for porta-potties, at our event. The pavilion is for administrative staff use only which will also follow CDC guidelines for usage and cleaning and have increased routine cleaning and disinfection for the indoor, staff-only, bathroom. Sales of t-shirts, masks, hats, etc. will be at the pavilion, but visitors will only be able to approach, from the outside, a counter that will be regularly disinfected. To minimize touch points where and when possible, we have developed event standards for touch/non-touch policies on merchandise. We have developed and communicated all expectations to point of sale vendors for protocols when interacting with attendees. We have also requested vendors develop point of sale cashless/touchless options. In addition to providing properly spaced POS vendors, each vendor will have
displayed “maximum occupancy” signage for their designated space.

We will have hand washing stations/or hand sanitizer for attendees and/or staff to maintain hygiene and we have scheduled increased routine cleaning and disinfection for high traffic areas, (very few “high traffic areas” are present as this is an entirely outdoor event for visitors), and porta-potties.

Porta-Potty Policy, or “P,P,Pee!”

Porta-potties will be provided and regularly sanitized by attendants. Please do recall that the French aided the Patriots in winning the Revolutionary War. And they still are helping us win wars, this time fighting Covid-19. Males will be encouraged to use our Revolutionary War Field Days pissoirs, (also known as vespasienne in French) – outdoor Parisienne urinals that were initially found on the streets of Paris in the 19 th C. After all, it allows our 18 th C. living history immersion experience to seem, well…, somehow more authentic. We use “immersion” strictly as a figure of speech, not literally, particularly in this urological context. Always excited to bring new, or, er… “old”, innovation our living history events, we’re excited to offer this feature to about half of our attendees so they can avoid enclosed spaces and touch points! We are not being sexist, only practical. Women in 18 th C. dress, do have the option of using the privacy afforded by full skirts and PLENTY of acreage at our new venue!

Public, Staff, Volunteer, and Vendor Covid-19 Awareness

Covid -19 education will be provided to staff and attendees to receive communication regarding all safety protocols and COVID-19 related policies. Social Distancing will be practiced, and all will be reminded of the importance of keeping social distancing. This will be accomplished by regular postings on this website, our Facebook site, and on signs and printed material for pre-program advertising and day of event.

All vendors and food services are contractually required to follow DHEC standards. Vendors (merchandise and food sales) will be responsible for using approved CDC guidelines to reduce Covid risk. All affiliate organizations, demonstrators, and food vendors will be provided links to the Accelerate SC/CDC guidelines related to gatherings and events and will contractually sign a statement to that affect. All Revolutionary War Field Days staff and volunteers will also have an opportunity to review the Accelerate SC/CDC guidelines related to gatherings and events and receive briefings in person from our Covid-19 Coordinator.

 Accelerate SC:
    https://accelerate.sc.gov/sites/default/files/Documents/GuidelinesforReopeningMassGatherings.pdf
 CDC Guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community/COVID19-events-gatherings-readiness-and-planning-tool.pdf

Hand-washing stations will be provided as well as hand-sanitizing stations for hygienic practices. All volunteer staff will have their temperature taken before starting to work their shifts. All participants, volunteers, reenactors, demonstrators, vendors, and visitors will be instructed if they don’t feel well, they should not attend the event. All are advised to stay home if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing COVID-19 symptoms or if they have had close contact with a person who has been We will advise employees and attendees to stay home if they have had a close contact with a person who has, or has symptoms of, COVID-19 within the past 14 days.

Attendees who do not feel well during the event, will have a specified area to report to as plans to transport them away from the event are made.

For Reenactors

Before our event:

  1. If reenactors have symptoms, such as a fever >100.4, cough, sore throat, loss of taste or smell in the last 72 hours, they should not attend this year. 
  2. If a reenactor has any member of their household manifest an onset of illness with symptoms consistent with Covid-19 within the previous 14-days to departure, these reenactors should not attend.
  3. At risk category should consider not attending
  4. Individuals should arrive with their own personal hand sanitizer and facemask
  5. Have a spare mask just in case

At the event:

  1. Social distancing between reenactors and spectators at all times, 6 feet recommended.
  2. Camps will be spaced out enough to support social distancing
  3. Camps should have hand sanitizer available for their members
  4. Avoid sharing food and drink with another person
  5. Avoid sharing equipment (cartridge boxes, haversacks, canteens) with another person
  6. Avoid if possible, handshaking, direct physical contact or high 5s. (In any event, how can a handshake compare with a vigorous, masked, greeting of “HUZZAH!”

During the battle

  1. The spectators will need to be in masks.
  2. The soldiers will have to be in open order, but no masks. We can’t safely load and fire the muskets, (almost impossible to tear open a cartridge with your teeth wearing a mask), with masks, nor give good, clear commands. 
  3. Once they return to their camps, back to recommended mask usage as activities permit. 

Did we miss anything? If rules change, we’ll change policies. We’re just happy we can have our event and hope
to you in November! Changes will be posted on Facebook so follow us on Facebook and visit the website often.