CDC Updates Guidance for Events and Gatherings As States Begin to Reopen

Summer is upon us, and while that is usually a time when many people travel, visit family and friends, go to places like concerts and amusement parks and enjoy fresh air and sunshine, this year, the CDC wants to make sure you know how to proceed with caution.

The coronavirus pandemic is not over. Far from it. Yet, many states are reopening. Reopening does not mean that COVID-19 has magically gone away. It also does not mean that you have to stay cooped up in your house all summer.

While many events have been canceled, some were simply rescheduled. You might be wondering how much risk is involved if you attend a wedding, go to a family reunion or plan a trip to Disney World when it reopens. 

Risk, according to the CDC, depends on how many people will be at a gathering, how easy it is to stay 6 feet apart from people outside your household and how high the transmission level of COVID-19 is within the community. 

What’s a “gathering” again?

The CDC defines a gathering as follows:

“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.”

Low Risk

Want to be as safe as possible? Only attend virtual gatherings. We’ve all become very familiar with those over the past few months.

Minimal Risk

For minimal risk, consider an in-person gathering where only a few households get together, where everyone wears face coverings, where it is easy to stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not in your household, and where everyone who attends is from the same local area.

High Risk

The risk goes up as more people attend the gathering or event. If there are multiple households present and if some of these people traveled from outside the local area to attend, that increases the risk as well.

Highest Risk

The highest risk is when a lot of people are at the event, it’s hard to maintain social distancing, and many people are not from the local area. 

Are you planning an event?

The CDC has added reminders and guidelines for anyone who might be planning an event. Here are a few highlights.

  • If any staff or guests are feeling sick, they should not attend.
  • Face coverings should be mandatory.
  • Hand washing is very important. Make sure there are plenty of supplies at the event to encourage hand washing. Stock up on soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, etc.
  • Make sure bathrooms are cleaned regularly and are clearly marked.
  • Modify the layout of the event to make social distancing as easy as possible.

Especially if you are an event planner, be sure to read the CDC’s entire list of guidelines for events and gatherings here.

The CDC recognizes that the level of risk will depend on where the event is held. Although these guidelines are helpful, they do not replace state and local rules and regulations. The CDC recommends that event organizers  “continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings.”

Are you planning any gatherings? Are you planning on attending any gatherings? Will these updated guidelines from the CDC impact your decision to plan or attend gatherings?