CDC Guidelines For Events & Gatherings
June 19, 2020
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 state and local health officials, 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.
- 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 higher the level of community transmission 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.
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.
- Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
- Require frequent employee handwashing (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 cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing and sneezing. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Encourage attendees to wash hands often and cover coughs and sneezes.
- Attendees often exchange handshakes, fist bumps, and high-fives at meetings and sporting events. Display signs(physical and/or electronic) that discourage these actions during the event.
- Cloth Face Coverings
- 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).
- Provide all staff with information on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
- 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
- Encourage attendees ahead of the event to bring and use cloth face coverings at the event.
- 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.
- Cloth face coverings are strongly encouraged in settings where individuals might raise their voice (e.g., shouting, chanting, singing).
- Adequate Supplies
- Ensure adequate supplies to support healthy 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 signs in highly visible locations
- Broadcast regular announcements on reducing the spread of COVID-19 on public address systems.
- Include messages (for example, videos) about behaviors that prevent spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff, vendors, and attendees (such as on the event website and through event social media accounts).
- 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 CDC’s communications resources main page