In the era of COVID, there is no such thing as a perfectly safe way for people from multiple households to gather – family or not. Getting together with people outside your household is risky business. But there are ways to reduce the health risks to you and the people you care about by weighing the risks of gathering against the potential benefits. To clarify, minimizing your risk does not eliminate your risk. When it comes to COVID, there are no guarantees. The key is to know the risks, make a plan, and commit to sticking to the plan. Yes, it will be hard. It will take commitment from everyone who will be attending. If we all commit to keeping risk levels low, we can have gatherings that are safe and joyful.
Yes, some outdoor gatherings are permitted, but they must meet certain conditions. This is because gatherings pose an especially high danger of transmission and spread of COVID-19.
Gatherings are defined as events that bring together people from multiple households in one space, indoors or outdoors. That space could be as large as an arena or as small as a private home.
On May 25, 2020, in an effort to balance First Amendment interests with public health, the State Public Health Officer created an exception to the prohibition against mass gatherings for faith-based services, cultural ceremonies, and protests. Those types of gatherings are now permitted indoors in counties in Substantial (red), Moderate (orange), and Minimal (yellow) tiers, subject to certain restrictions in those counties.
State public health directives also permit in-person outdoor faith-based services or protests as long as face coverings are worn and physical distancing of 6 feet between persons or groups of persons from different households is maintained at all times.
As of October 9, 2020, outdoor private gatherings are allowed under the following conditions:
- Attendees must be from no more than 3 separate households
- Duration should be 2 hours or less
At any gathering, observe these safety protocols:
- Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently
- Do not attend if you have COVID-19 symptoms
- Do not attend if you are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (seniors, those with certain medical conditions)
Read more details in the state’s private gatherings guidance. Be aware that local health departments may have additional restrictions.
Crowds and limited physical distancing increase the risk for COVID-19. If you attended a gathering, remember that confidential, free COVID-19 testing is available. If you test negative it does not mean that you may not develop COVID-19 later on. Therefore, it is advisable that you self-isolate for 14 days if possible.
Stay in your county if you can, and we recommend that you don’t drive more than 2-3 hours.
You can travel for urgent matters or if such travel is essential to your permitted work. Even though businesses around the state are opening up, avoid traveling long distances for vacations or pleasure as much as possible. This is to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Do not travel if you are sick, or if someone in your household has had coronavirus in the last two weeks. Do not travel with someone who is sick.
You should check with the local health department where you are starting from, along your route, and at your planned destination for information. Know that local rules are constantly changing and may change even after you start your trip. Check for travel updates before you leave your home.
Before traveling away from your community, consider these questions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel guidance:
- Is coronavirus spreading where you are traveling?
- Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very sick from coronavirus?
- Will you be able to keep 6 feet of physical distance from others during or after your trip?
If you do travel, take steps to keep everyone safe like wearing a face covering, keeping 6 feet of physical distance from those not in your household, and washing your hands frequently.
Yes, but only wedding ceremonies are allowed, not receptions. Wedding ceremonies should follow the guidance for places of worship or cultural ceremonies. As required by that guidance, social distancing should be practiced by all attendees. Wear masks, wash hands frequently, and keep 6 feet from anyone you don’t live with.
Ceremonies have restrictions on their setting or capacity, depending on your county’s tier status:
- Widespread (purple) tier:
- Substantial (red) tier:
May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Moderate (orange) tier:
May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer
- Minimal (yellow) tier:
May be held indoors, but with max capacity of 50%
While wedding receptions are not permitted, consider safer options like sharing your wedding online via video conference (Zoom, Google Meet, or other platforms). This protects all your loved ones, especially those at high risk like seniors or people with chronic conditions. See more details in guidance for places of worship and cultural ceremonies.
For now, teams can practice - the guidance is here.
Blood donation is a safe and essential health care activity. Vitalant Shasta is practicing strict safety measures to ensure blood donation remains safe. Learn about their safety measures by visiting www.vitalant.org/COVID-FAQs.
To schedule a donation, visit www.vitalant.org
Here are some alternative ideas for fundraisers.
- Virtual event through live medium (Zoom, Facebook Live, etc.)
- Redesign sit-down meal to a drive-through/pick-up meal
- Hold raffle/silent auction online or virtually (use platform like GiveSmart to hold virtual auction)
- Replace event with comprehensive online communications campaign via social media and e-mail
- Update event theme to match current situation/ needs
- Drive-in event:
- Gather in a location large enough to safely accommodate the number of vehicles with sufficient spacing
- Stagger event times to limit the number of vehicles and guests
- The event should be open only to invited guests
- Event personnel can direct traffic to park in designated spots, 6 feet apart from other vehicles
- Attendees stay in their vehicles
- Event personnel must be spaced at least 6 feet apart
- No bathrooms for public use
- Create a traffic flow plan for how vehicles enter and exit the event
- Event could be in a large parking lot that could hold all the vehicles
- Everyone attending would remain in their vehicles for the duration of the ceremony
- Broadcast the ceremony via FM radio so that the families can listen in their cars
- Limit parade to less than 3 hours
- Virtual auction: Several online platforms support the bidding process.
- Start with online bidding
- Live stream the auction
- Live auction the package
- Multiple devices are recommended - one to watch and the other to bid
- Virtual bingo: Bingo cards can be purchased online and participants print them out. Emcees call out the squares, and whomever gets "bingo" wins a prize.
We all play a part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings help contain infected droplets when someone talks, coughs or sneezes. This does not take the place of the need to maintain physical distancing, handwashing, staying home when sick (even with mild illness) and other safety measures.
The state requirements are here.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is spread mainly from person to person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). It spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land on the mucus membranes of the eyes, mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
The prolonged use of masks can be uncomfortable. However, it does not lead to CO2 intoxication nor oxygen deficiency.