Flu can spread easily at mass gatherings, such as concerts, festivals, and sporting events. Those traveling to and from mass gatherings also can spread flu to other areas and to family members when they return home.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent the flu. A vaccine is available each year for seasonal flu. A flu pandemic is an outbreak caused by a new flu virus that spreads worldwide. Since it is a new virus, it may take several months for manufacturers to develop a vaccine. Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including postponing or canceling mass gatherings, can be effective in slowing the spread of flu.
Below are 10 steps coordinators can take to help slow the spread of pandemic flu at mass gatherings through NPIs.
- Follow your local flu situation through close communication with state, tribal, local, and territorial public health officials.
- Encourage attendees and staff to get a seasonal flu vaccine and a pandemic flu vaccine as soon as they are available.
- Through education and the provision of supplies, encourage attendees and staff to take everyday preventive actions, including covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, staying home when sick, and cleaning surfaces and objects routinely.
- Advise attendees and staff not to attend the event if they are sick or are at high risk for flu complications.
- Cross-train staff to ensure coverage in case people need to stay home when sick.
- Implement more flexible refund and sick-leave policies that encourage attendees and staff to stay home when sick or to care for sick family members.
- During the event, separate sick people from well people, and send sick people home as soon as possible.
- Consider modifying seating arrangements to increase space between people.
- Provide alternative ways for people to view the event, such as through television, radio, or internet broadcasting.
- Consider postponing or canceling an event when a pandemic is severe in terms of how quickly flu is spreading and how sick people are getting.