NASA Announces New Event Protocols to Combat COVID-19
This article has been updated as of July 14th, 2020.
When we finally return to the racetrack, NASA events, as you once knew them, will have changed. Our safety protocols on the racetrack are the finest in the industry, and with the advent of the coronavirus, NASA must rethink the way we conduct our events, for the safety of our drivers, crew, staff and track personnel.
We at NASA are going to do everything we can to keep our people safe, but inevitably many of the new safety protocols will be the responsibility of NASA members. With your participation, with your help, we as an organization will be able to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Whitehouse.gov Opening America guidelines at all times or risk being shut down again.
These program changes are set forth as minimum guidelines for all NASA Regions and NASA members to meet. Participants who refuse to comply with these policies will be asked to leave the event upon first offense.
General Member Protocols
- All participants must wear a cloth mouth and nose face covering or other non-venting PPE mask when in public areas such as at meetings, Driver Info and Registration, vendor areas and food lines, photography viewing areas, pregrid, fan stands and track viewing areas, “communal” rental garages, and vehicle tech inspection. Drivers do not need to wear a mask or face covering while in their vehicles.
- All non-cohabitating participants shall continue to maintain 6 feet social distancing. Face coverings are not a substitute for physical/social distancing.
- All participants shall practice good hygiene by washing hands or using hand sanitizer often, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces, such as pens, faucets, doorknobs, etc.
- Outdoor meetings are strongly preferred and still require physical distancing, but if the weather is prohibitive, indoor meetings can be held under strict physical-distancing protocols, including at least 6-feet-radius spacing between non-cohabitating attendees, and continued use of face coverings. Should this not be feasible, indoor meetings are prohibited.
- Vulnerable individuals to COVID-19 (those greater than 74 years old, and those with serious underlying medical problems such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease and asthma, or immunocompromised state) should neither participate in nor attend events and should shelter in place at home until Phase 3, as outlined at whitehouse.gov/openingamerica. Non-vulnerable participants need to understand that there is risk of bringing the virus home from any event and should take extra caution to isolate from vulnerable individuals once back home.
- Participants who are sick or coughing should not go to the event and will be required to leave.
- All socially dense gatherings such as barbecues and beer gardens are suspended until further notice.
NASA Staff Protocols
- All NASA staff working indoors or outside potentially in close proximity to participants or other staff members must wear a face covering or mask.
- Driver Info desk should be set up outdoors whenever possible to avoid indoor gatherings.
- Race control and timing shall be restricted to essential personnel only. Both should be set up in a way that allows the recommended 6-foot distance to be maintained at all times.
- Any lines that may form during the event for participants or staff should be planned for ahead of time to ensure 6-foot distancing guidelines can be maintained. This can include the lunch line to order food, driver info, etc.
HPDE1 Changes (Revised July 14th, 2020)
- In-car instruction will not be a required part of NASA HPDE curriculum until further notice.
- HPDE Students that want to request in-car instruction may do so through the region hosting their respective event.
- Students who wish to ride alone can request on-track instruction through lead-follow.
- HPDE1 will require the first session on each event day be “paced” by 3-plus instructor vehicles. This “pacing” is intended to control speed for the first session, allowing HPDE1 students to familiarize themselves with the track.
- HPDE/TT/Race tech should be done with the participants staying in their vehicles and pulling up in line to avoid any gatherings at the tech area. If more than a vehicle weight is needed, the driver shall exit the vehicle and wait at least 6 feet away from the driver’s side.
- Two or more “lines” spread 12 feet apart should be used when possible to speed up the process.
- Tech inspectors should wear PPE such as masks and latex gloves.
- Podiums should be conducted outside using a “no contact” process.
- Awards should be set up ahead of time on a table where drivers can pick up their specific awards.
- “High fives,” hugs and handshakes following the race should be avoided. If a podium can be set up, each position should be placed 6 feet from the other.
- A minimum of 6 feet of separation should be maintained at all times. If the podium cannot be conducted maintaining 6 feet of separation, podium ceremonies should not be conducted.
We very much look forward to welcoming all NASA members back to the track for their fun filled adrenaline packed weekends!