The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new set of guidelines to take into consideration for those planning events. They identify risk level by group characteristics.
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 six feet apart, wear cloth face coverings, do not share objects and come from the same local area.
Higher Risk: Medium-sized in-person gatherings that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least six 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 six feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area.
Skift looked at the newly released guidelines and offers the following overview for event professionals.
- Addition to local guidelines. These new guidelines should be considered as a supplement to state or local guidelines.
- Postpone, cancel, or reduce capacity is still the best strategy. While the CDC realizes many states are reopening, event professionals should continuously assess whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce attendance.
- Duration and size of the gathering matter. The more people and the more time they spend together, the higher the risk of contagion.
Here is a summary of the most notable attendee-related elements of communication:
- Advise employees and attendees to stay homeif they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Advise employees and attendees to stay home and monitor their health if they have had a close contactwith a person who has symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
- Encourage attendees towash hands often and cover coughs and sneezes.
- Encourage attendees ahead of the event to bring and usecloth face coverings at the event.
- Include messages (for example, videos) about behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff, vendors, and attendees (such as on the event website and through eventsocial media accounts).
- As feasible, offer options for attendees at higher risk for severe illnessthat limit their exposure risk (e.g. virtual attendance).
- Advise attendees prior to the event or gathering that they should not attend if they have symptoms of, a positive test for, or were recently exposed (within 14 days) to COVID-19.
These considerations are in line with what was previously shared by the WHO. There is a clear indication to step up communications and invite people to use face masks or cloths.
- Limit attendance or seating capacity to allow forsocial distancing, 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 providingsigns or other visual cues such as tape or chalk marks.
- Offer online attendance options in addition to in-person attendance to help reduce the number of attendees.
- Add physical barriers, such as flexible plastic screens, between bathroom sinks and beds, especially when they cannot be at least 6 feet apart.
- Post signsin highly visible locations (e.g., at entrances, in restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs by properly washing hands and properly wearing a cloth face covering.
These guidelines reinforce what we have recommended in the past few months, namely smaller meetings.