We all hoped COVID-19 would clear up by the holidays but the season has arrived and covid cases are ticking up. I know, I want to cry! Instead of that, lets do our best to enjoy the holiday season safely. Virtual Thanksgiving Party anyone?
Below is a summary of the California Mandatory Requirements (updated Nov. 13, 2020) for private gatherings.
California Department of Public Health Guidance for the Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission for Gatherings
- Gatherings may include a maximum of 3 households. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests. Remember, the smaller the number of people, the safer.
- Keep the households that you interact with stable over time. By spending time with the same people, risk of transmission is reduced. Participating in multiple gatherings with different households or groups is strongly discouraged.
- The host should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.
Location: Gatherings Must be Outdoors for Counties in the Purple Tier
- Gatherings that occur outdoors are significantly safer than indoor gatherings. All gatherings must be held outside in the Purple Tier, and indoor gatherings are strongly discouraged in Red, Orange and Yellow Tiers.
- If gathering indoors, increase fresh air circulation by opening windows or doors, as much as possible, especially in the rooms where people are gathering.
- A gathering of no more than three households is permitted in a public park or other outdoor space, even if unrelated gatherings of other groups up to three households are also occurring in the same park or other outdoor space. If multiple such gatherings are occurring, mixing between group gatherings is not allowed. Additionally, multiple gatherings of three households cannot be jointly organized or coordinated to occur in the same public park or other outdoor space at the same time – this would constitute a gathering exceeding the permitted household limits.
Don’t Attend Gatherings If You Feel Sick
- Anyone with any COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell), must stay home and not come into contact with anyone outside their household.
- Anyone who develops COVID-19 within 48 hours after attending a gathering should notify the organizer of the gathering and/or other attendees as soon as possible regarding the potential exposure.
Individuals in a High-Risk Group are Discouraged from Attending any Gatherings
- People at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 (such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions) are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings, especially indoor gatherings.
- If higher-risk individuals do attend any gatherings, they should do the following to decrease the risk for exposure:
- Spend as much time outside, or near outside air flow such as open windows or doors, as possible.
- Wear a respirator or surgical mask instead of a cloth mask, and minimize any time at the event with the mask off.
- Remain at least six feet, or ideally even farther away, from others outside their household as much as possible, especially when people are eating or drinking without face coverings.
- Spend a shorter time at the gathering than others to reduce potential exposure.
Practice Physical Distancing and Hand Hygiene at Gatherings
- For any gatherings permitted under this guidance, the space must be large enough so that everyone at a gathering can maintain at least a 6-foot physical distance from others (not including their own household) at all times.
- Seating must provide at least 6 feet of distance (in all directions—front-to-back and side-to-side) between different households.
- Everyone at a gathering should frequently wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Shared items should be minimized during a gathering. Food and beverages should be served by a person who washes or sanitizes their hands frequently, and who must wear a face covering. Self-serve items from communal containers should be minimized.
- Remind all persons to sanitize hands before eating or drinking, and after touching shared items if shared items are unavoidable.
Wear a Face Covering to Keep COVID-19 from Spreading
- When gathering, face coverings must be worn in accordance with the CDPH Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings, unless an exemption is applicable.
- People at gatherings are advised to limit removal of their face coverings to when they are actively eating or drinking. While face coverings are removed for this purpose, they should stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.
- Face coverings can also be removed to meet urgent medical needs (for example, to use an asthma inhaler, take medication, or if feeling light-headed).
Keep It Short
- Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.
Singing, Chanting, Shouting, Cheering and Similar Activities Are Strongly Discouraged at Outdoor Gatherings and Prohibited at Indoor Gatherings
- Singing, chanting, shouting, cheering, physical exertion, and similar activities significantly increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission because these activities increase the release of respiratory droplets and fine aerosols into the air. Because of this, singing, chanting, shouting, cheering, and similar activities are strongly discouraged in outdoor settings.
- Instrumental music is allowed outdoors as long as the musicians maintain at least 6-foot physical distancing. Musicians must be from one of the three households. Playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) is strongly discouraged, and if played should use protective or tightly woven cloth barriers on the instrument bells or at the end of the instrument to protect from spread of condensation droplets. If music is played, it is recommended that the volume be quiet enough that attendees can speak in a normal voice without shouting.
- Singing, chanting, shouting, cheering, playing of wind instruments and similar activities are not permitted in indoor gatherings.