The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines Sunday for large events and mass gatherings. The federal agency now recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events with 50 or more people throughout the country.
This recommendation does not apply to day-to-day operations such as schools or businesses, the CDC said in a statement. But with smaller crowds gathering in public, it adds to the increasing attempts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus into new communities.
The CDC 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. #COVID19 #utpol https://t.co/OD9qJdJQXU
— Rep. John Curtis (@RepJohnCurtis) March 16, 2020
However, the updated guidelines will not replace advice already given by local public health officials — it’s only a recommendation for further action.
“Events of any size should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing,” the CDC said on its website. “When feasible, organizers could modify events to be virtual.”
Conferences, concerts, weddings
Examples of these large events and gatherings include conferences, festivals, concerts, weddings and other types of assemblies. Many groups and individuals in Utah have already canceled or postponed events and gatherings with the potential to draw large crowds — including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints General Conference, college and public school classes, church services and dine-in restaurants.
The CDC requests that groups consider several things when considering whether to cancel a mass gathering, including:
- The number of people in attendance
- The number of people who are at risk of a more serious illness after contracting COVID-19
- The density of people in a crowd within a confined area
During a press conference Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert gave recommendations to the state to cancel events with an expected crowd of more than 100 people. At the time, this didn’t mean public schools.
The following day, at a press conference Friday, the governor announced a “soft closure” of public schools for the next two weeks in an attempt to control the spread.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Resources for more information
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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