As more and more communities are planning and holding mass gatherings, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also established specific guidelines and considerations to protect individuals and communities during large events and social activities. To be specific, event planners are required to collaborate with the local and state health officials so they will know how and whether to implement these guidelines and make the necessary adjustments to suit the needs as well as the circumstances of the community.
Read more as we are going to discuss the CDC COVID event guidelines for large social activities in today’s post.
The Purpose Of Guidelines And Considerations For Social Gatherings During The Pandemic
The CDC guidelines are set to encourage event planners to follow both state and local protocols during large assemblies. And because the circulation of the virus differs from one community to another, these guidelines are made to supplement and not replace any existing local, state, territorial, or tribal regulations concerning health and safety with which all gatherings must comply. Likewise, these considerations will serve as a guide to organizers on how to properly assess a planned event based on the current conditions and whether to cancel or postpone a gathering for safety reasons. Moreover, the CDC guidelines also state whether or not to reduce the number of people to reduce the possibility of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
In addition, the recommendations of the CDC remain the same (proper hand washing, wearing of face masks, and social distancing) and therefore, should also be implemented during the event management.
- A gathering is defined as either a spontaneous or planned event that is held indoors or outdoors with the attendance of many people. Some examples of this are concerts, festivals, parades, weddings, community, and sporting events.
- The more people interacting, and the longer they interact with one another, the more likely they become infected and the likelihood of spreading the coronavirus.
- If the locality is considered as a “high risk” area (high community transmission) where the event is going to be held, the higher the possibility of COVID-19 to spread during the gathering.
Classification Of COVID-19 Risk
The size of the event is also a factor in the spread of the disease. Hence, they are categorized to help event managers organize the event safely:
Lowest Risk – Certain social activities like virtual events or any kind of event that doesn’t involve social interaction.
More Risk – Small-sized gatherings which involve people from different households who wear masks, maintain physical distancing, refrain from sharing objects, and live within the same locality.
Higher Risk – Medium-sized gatherings which involve people who observe CDC recommendations but with attendees from different areas outside the locality.
Highest Risk – Large gatherings where physical distancing will be hard to implement and attendees from different areas outside the locality. In this situation, COVID marshalls are recommended to constantly remind the attendees to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines during the event.
Considerations For Postponing Or Cancelling A Particular Event
During the planning the stage, the event organizer must consider these questions to help them decide whether or not they will cancel or postpone a particular event:
- What is the expected number of people who will attend the event?
- Does the crowd include vulnerable persons like older adults and those with pre-existing health conditions?
- How close will one attendee to another attendee (the risk of person-to-person transmission is higher if one person is less than 6 feet from another person)?
- Is the event to be held at a high-risk area of transmission?
- Can the number of people be reduced to lessen the risk of COVID-19 transmission?
Things To Do Before An Event
- Inform everybody (both staff and attendees) about the importance of staying at home.
- Consider refund options so that anyone who will feel sick can refund their payment and avoid the possibility of making others sick during the event.
- Follow CDC safety recommendations and encourage everyone to bring a hygiene kit.
- Coordinate with the area’s emergency operations unit as well as the local health officials and come up with a contingency plan for addressing COVID-19 related scenarios.
- Appoint a COVID-19 Help Officer so he/she will be responsible for any COVID-19 related concerns and make sure everybody knows how to contact him/her.
- Develop an event layout that includes multiple exits and entrances, limited seating capacity, guided pathways to maintain physical distancing, and sharing of indoor spaces.
- Always have a backup plan to keep everyone safe at the time of the event.
During The Event
- Stay updated with the latest developments about the COVID-19 pandemic and disseminate the information to the staff, partners, participants, etc.
- Stagger or limit attendance times so that physical distancing will be maintained inside the venue.
- Regularly conduct temperature checks.
- Stockpile prevention supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, alcohol, and face masks.
- Encourage protective measures, post signs in visible locations, and always broadcast reminders to remind people to adhere to safety protocols during the event and in different social media channels.
- Limit the people who will be using the restrooms to prevent crowding.
- Refrain from having buffet or salad bars and offer individually-plated meals with disposable utensils instead.
- Make sure the venue is properly ventilated. And if case the event is held indoors, it is recommended to open windows and doors (if necessary) to increase outdoor air circulation inside the room.
- Immediately isolate anyone who feels sick or showing signs that they are not feeling well. Place them in a separate area away from the crowd. Contact the health department or local hospital to provide the best care according to their condition.
After The Event
- Conduct a post-event evaluation with the emergency operations team, staff, and partners to assess the event and encourage everyone to share feedback.
- Consider partnering with other production agencies to improve future event planning.
- Continue to monitor any developments in emergency preparedness so you’ll be able to apply changes in future social activities.
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