COVID Policy

Summary of Current Protocols: As of Thursday, February 2, 2023, the CDC Community Level for Sonoma and Marin counties is at the low/green level. Dancers must wear a well-fitting cloth or N95-level mask in the dance space. Food and drink may be consumed inside the building. Napa county is at the medium/yellow level, so dancers must wear an N95-or-comparable mask in the dance space, and food must be eaten outside of the building. At both low and medium levels, musicians and callers may opt to wear a mask (or not) while on stage. For all levels, participants must be fully vaccinated with at least one booster. Thanks for your support in keeping the transmission of COVID-19 and other infections to a minimum.

NBCDS COVID-19 Safety Policy

The NBCDS Board adopted this policy on 6/2/22 and reviews/revises it every quarter. The most recent review occurred on 11/17/22, and the next review will be on 2/16/23. The NBCDS Safety Committee has shared recommendations for Spring 2023 policy updates and welcomes your feedback at by 2/12/23.

To mitigate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 and other illnesses at our events, NBCDS uses the CDC color-coded COVID-19 Community Level in the county where the dance is held to determine dance-specific safety protocols. The risk level is determined by the number of hospital beds being used and hospital admissions as well as the total number of new community cases: Red = High, Yellow = Medium and Green = Low. Current levels are readily available by county on the CDC website.

Holding/canceling dances

Dances may be held at all CDC risk levels; however, the dance manager and/or programmer, in consultation with a Board member, may choose to cancel a dance based on their assessment of risk. Additional local sources of COVID-19 metrics, such as the County of Sonoma Emergency Readiness website and the CDC Wastewater Surveillance Tool, can be used to inform these decisions.

Attendance requirements

  • All participants must show proof of full vaccination (initial vaccination + at least 1 booster). After having their status recorded at a dance venue, participants do not need to bring proof of vaccination to that venue for future events.
  • Participants will read the COVID-19 Safety Protocol, then agree to follow the guidelines by signing in at each dance and providing a legible, current contact email address or phone number.
  • Participants agree to notify the NBCDS dance manager or Board president if they become infected with COVID-19 (test positive or show symptoms) within five days after attending that dance. NBCDS will inform participants if a positive case is reported but not disclose the identify of the infected person(s).


  • Dancers: In yellow or red levels, dancers must wear a KF94, KN95 or N95-comparable mask at all times in the dance space. Food must be eaten outside of the dance hall/building. At the green level, dancers may wear a surgical or cloth mask so long as it is well-fitting. Dancers may briefly remove their mask to eat or drink so long as they are 6 feet or more away from other dancers and put their mask back on immediately afterwards.
  • Callers & Musicians: At the green and yellow levels, masks are optional for callers and musicians as long as they are 6 feet away from dancers at all times. In some venues, tighter spacing may require stricter protocols. Masks are required for wind instrument players unless they have tested negative within 6 hours of the dance. At the red level, everyone must wear a mask, and wind instruments (flute, harmonica, singing, etc) are allowed only if special masking and instrument-specific precautions are applied.*


  • At green and yellow levels: NBCDS suggests that dancers, callers, and musicians complete a COVID-19 test less than 24 hours before attending a dance and consult the CDC When to Test recommendations, which include questions about vaccination status, masking, average number of close contact interactions per day, and social gathering attendance frequency.Wind instrument players must test within 6 hours prior to the dance.
  • At red levels: Dancers, callers, and musicians are required to test less than 6 hours before attending a dance event. An individually-administered rapid test is sufficient. Dancers must bring evidence (photo) of the negative test to the dance. We encourage our community to request free test kits through or their health insurance plan. To ensure everyone has access to a test, we have ordered a supply of tests to provide, if needed, at events and will request an at-cost $6/test donation. We want to keep our community healthy and not have test availability or expense be a barrier.

Communicating with the NBCDS Community

The most current NBCDS COVID-19 Safety Policy will be posted on our website and printed for display at the sign-in tables. The Safety Policy will be assessed at each Quarterly Board Meeting and updated based on assessment of community risk.

  • At the November 17, 2022 quarterly meeting, the NBCDS Board voted to retain our policy as-is for the winter quarter. With the possibility of a winter surge due to increased travel over the holiday season and spending more time indoors, we will retain mandatory masking and the requirement of full vaccination with one booster, at least through the winter months.  We considered input from community members (read the Fall 2022 Community Survey Responses) and a recommendation from our NBCDS Safety Committee in our decision.
  • On June 28, 2022, the NBCDS Board approved an amendment to the COVID-19 Policy. At the high/red level of the CDC Community Levels, we will allow wind instruments if special masking and instrument-specific precautions are applied. Specifically, this allows our Sebastopol English Country Dances to include flautists in upcoming events this quarter, and it also allows flexibility as new techniques are developed to make various instruments less likely to transmit infections. All seven board members expressed support for this policy amendment.
  • In developing the Spring 2022 policy update, the NBCDS Board gathered input from our community members via an online survey and reviewed policies adopted by sister organizations (BACDS, Portland, and Lake City Contra) as well as CDC recommendations. View the NBCDS Spring 2022 Community Survey results