California Public Health Experts: Mass Gatherings Should be Postponed or Canceled Statewide to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Sacramento–Public health experts in California have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Non-essential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” said Governor Newsom. “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk – seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.”

The state’s updated policy defines a “gathering” as any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space.

This guidance applies to all non-essential professional, social and community gatherings regardless of their sponsor.

Essential gatherings should only be conducted if the essential activity could not be postponed or achieved without gathering, meaning that some other means of communication could not be used to conduct the essential function.

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