Considerations for Events and Gatherings
As some communities in the United States begin to plan and hold events and gatherings, the CDC offers the following considerations for enhancing protection of individuals and communities and preventing spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Event planners and officials can determine, in collaboration with , whether and how to implement these considerations, making adjustments to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. Because COVID-19 virus circulation varies in communities, these considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings. Guiding Principles
A gathering refers to a planned or spontaneous event, indoors or outdoors, with a small number of people participating or a large number of people in attendance such as a community event or gathering, concert, festival, conference, parade, wedding, or sporting event.
The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading.
The in the area that the gathering is being held, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading during a gathering.
The size of an event or gathering should be determined based on state, local, territorial or tribal safety laws and regulations.
The risk of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings increases as follows: Lowest risk: Virtual-only activities, events, and gatherings. More risk: Smaller outdoor and in-person gatherings in which individuals from different households remain spaced at least 6 feet apart, wear cloth face coverings, do not share objects, and come from the same local area (e.g., community, town, city, or county). Higher risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and with attendees coming from outside the local area. Highest risk: Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area. Targeting COVID-19’s spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. It is thought that the virus may also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth or eyes, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices (such as , , , and ) and environmental prevention practices (such as ) are important ways to prevent the virus’s spread. These prevention principles are covered in this document. They provide event planners and individuals with actions to help lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure and spread during gatherings and events. Promoting Healthy Behaviors that Reduce Spread Event planners should consider implementing strategies to encourage behaviors that reduce the spread of COVID-19 among staff and attendees.
Staying Home when Appropriate
Educate staff and attendees about when they should
Advise if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing COVID-19 .
Advise employees and attendees to stay home and monitor their health if they have had a with a person who has symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
Develop policies that encourage sick employees to stay at home without fear of reprisal, and ensure employees are aware of these policies.
CDC’s criteria can help inform when employees should return to work:
Consider developing flexible refund policies for attendees for events that involve a participation fee.
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
Require frequent employee (e.g., before, during, and after taking tickets; after touching garbage) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and increase monitoring to ensure adherence.
If soap and water are not readily available, employees can use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub their hands until dry.
Encourage staff to . Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Encourage attendees to and cover coughs and sneezes.
Attendees often exchange handshakes, fist bumps, and high-fives at meetings and sporting events. Display (physical and/or electronic) that discourage these actions during the event.
Cloth Face Coverings
Require the use of among staff. Cloth face coverings are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult (e.g., when moving within a crowd or audience).
Provide all staff with information on .
Advise staff that 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
Encourage attendees ahead of the event to bring and use at the event.
are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have . are not surgical masks or respirators. They are not personal protective equipment.
Cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged in settings where individuals might raise their voice (e.g., shouting, chanting, singing).
Ensure adequate supplies to support behaviors. Supplies include soap, water, hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol, paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, cloth face coverings (as feasible), and no-touch trash cans.
Signs and Messages
Post in highly visible locations (e.g., at entrances, in restrooms) that and describe how to of germs by and .
Broadcast regular on reducing the spread of COVID-19 on public address systems.
Include messages (for example, ) about behaviors that prevent spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff, vendors, and attendees (such as on the event website and through event ).
Consider developing signs and messages in alternative formats (e.g., large print, braille, American Sign Language) for people who have limited vision or are blind or people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Find freely available CDC print and digital resources about COVID-19 on main page.
Maintaining Healthy Environments Event planners should consider implementing several strategies to maintain healthy environments.
frequently touched surfaces within the venue at least daily or between uses as much as possible—for example, door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, grab bars, hand railings, and cash registers.
Clean and disinfect shared objects between uses—for example, payment terminals, tables, countertops, bars, and condiment holders.
Consider closing areas such as drinking fountains that cannot be adequately cleaned and disinfected during an event.
Develop a schedule for increased, routine cleaning and disinfection.
Plan for and enact these cleaning routines when renting event space and ensure that other groups who may use your facilities follow these routines.
If transport vehicles like buses are used by the event staff, drivers should practice all safety actions and protocols as indicated for other staff—for example, washing hands often and wearing cloth face coverings and maintaining social distance of bus riders. To clean and disinfect event buses, vans, or other vehicles see guidance for and , and adapt as needed.
Ensure and storage of to avoid harm to employees and other individuals. Always read and follow label instructions for each product, and store products securely away from children.
Cleaning products should not be used near children. Staff should ensure that there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent attendees or themselves from inhaling toxic vapors.
Use disposable gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash.
After using disposable gloves, throw them out in a lined trash can.
Do not disinfect or reuse the gloves.
after removing gloves.
Consider limiting the number of people who occupy the restroom at one time to allow for social distancing.
Do not allow lines or crowds to form near the restroom without maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people. It may be helpful to post signs or markers to help attendees maintain the appropriate social distance of at least 6 feet.
Ensure that open restrooms are:
Operational with functional toilets.
regularly, particularly high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, stall doors, doorknobs, countertops, diaper changing tables, and light switches.
Clean and disinfect restrooms daily or more often, if possible, with EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19.
Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep products away from children.
Adequately stocked with supplies for handwashing, including soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
If you are providing portable toilets, also provide portable handwashing stations and ensure that they remain stocked throughout the duration of the event. If possible, provide hand sanitizer stations that are touch-free.
Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, for example, by opening windows and doors. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk to staff or attendees (e.g., risk of falling or triggering asthma symptoms).
If portable ventilation equipment like fans are used, take steps to minimize air from them blowing from one person directly at another person to reduce the potential spread of any airborne or aerosolized viruses.
To minimize the risk of and other diseases associated with water, to ensure that all water systems and features (e.g., sink faucets, drinking fountains, decorative fountains) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown. Drinking fountains should be cleaned and sanitized, but encourage staff and attendees to bring their own water, as feasible, to minimize touching and use of water fountains.
Limit attendance or seating capacity to allow for , or host smaller events in larger rooms.
Use multiple entrances and exits and discourage crowded waiting areas.
Block off rows or sections of seating in order to space people at least 6 feet apart.
Eliminate lines or queues if possible or encourage people to stay at least 6 feet apart by providing or other visual cues such as tape or chalk marks.
Prioritize outdoor activities where social distancing can be maintained as much as possible.
Offer online attendance options in addition to in-person attendance to help reduce the number of attendees.
Physical Barriers and Guides
Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that individuals remain at least 6 feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g., guides for creating one-way routes).
Install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least 6 feet apart. Barriers can be useful at cash registers and other areas where maintaining physical distance of 6 feet is difficult.
Change seating layout or availability of seating so that people can remain least 6 feet apart.
Stagger use of shared indoor spaces such as dining halls, game rooms, and lounges as much as possible and them between uses.
Add physical barriers, such as plastic flexible screens, between bathroom sinks and beds, especially when they cannot be at least 6 feet apart.
Clean and disinfect bathrooms regularly (e.g., in the morning and evening or after times of heavy use) using .
For more information on communal spaces in event housing (e.g., laundry rooms, shared bathrooms, and recreation areas) follow
There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread by food. However, people sharing utensils and congregating around food service areas can pose a risk.
If the event includes food service, refer to CDC’s COVID-19 considerations for .
Use touchless payment options as much as possible, if available.
Ask customers and employees to exchange cash or card payments by placing them on a receipt tray or on the counter rather than by hand to avoid direct hand-to-hand contact.
frequently touched surfaces such as pens, counters, or hard surfaces between use and encourage patrons to use their own pens.
Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls