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CDC: Interim Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as of 3/15/20

Centers for Disease Control

Interim Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): 3/15/20

Guidance as of 3/15/2020

Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

Therefore, CDC, in accordance with its guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populationshand hygiene, and social distancing.  When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.

This recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses. This recommendation is made in an attempt to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus.  This recommendation is not intended to supersede the advice of local public health officials.

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Summary of Recent Changes

Revisions were made on 3/12/2020 to reflect the following:

  • Highlights vulnerable populations
  • Adds a section on “Considerations for Postponing or Cancelling a Mass Gathering”
  • Adds a section on discouraging handshakes and high fives (for sporting events)
  • Adds standard language regarding disinfection procedures

This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.

This interim guidance is intended for organizers and staff responsible for planning mass gatherings or large community events in the United States. A mass gathering is a planned or spontaneous event with a large number of people in attendance that could strain the planning and response resources of the community hosting the event, such as a concert, festival, conference, or sporting event. Guidance specific to schools and childcare settings, institutions of higher education, and community- and faith-based organizations can be found on CDC’s website focused on prevention COVID-19 spread in communities.

COVID-19 is an emerging respiratory disease and there is more to learn about its transmission, clinical course, and populations at increased risk of disease and complications (see How COVID-19 Spreads). Everyone can do their part to help plan, prepare, and respond to this emerging public health threat.

Older adults and persons with severe underlying health conditions are considered to be at increased risk of more serious illness after contracting COVID-19.  Priority should be given to ensuring the safety of these groups of people, particularly for any mass gatherings that are expected to have a large number of older adults or persons with underlying conditions.

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