Event Planning FAQs
Information for Event Planners and Individuals
Are we allowed to require vaccination against COVID-19 to attend or work at an event? Does this violate the rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)?
Event planners might choose to verify COVID-19 vaccination status at the time of ticket sales or entry to an event. Organizers must obey all applicable local, state, tribal, and territorial laws, regulations and rules as they consider whether to confirm COVID-19 vaccination status. If organizers choose to require COVID-19 vaccination for participation in an event, they should do so in a manner that is respectful to staff and attendees and consistent with applicable privacy laws and standards.
An employer may require that their workers be vaccinated. Check with your employer to see if they have any rules that apply to you.
HIPAA applies only to covered entities (healthcare providers, healthcare plans) that conduct or engage in certain electronic transactions. HIPAA ensures a patient’s health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide high-quality care and to protect public well-being. Most event organizers would not fall into the category of a covered entity as defined under the statute. For this reason, HIPAA would not apply to most event organizers attempting to verify an individual’s vaccination status. Event organizers with questions regarding the application of HIPAA and/or other potentially applicable privacy laws to vaccination verification activities should consult with legal counsel prior to taking such actions.
Our event will include people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not fully vaccinated. What prevention strategies should we use?
Event organizers, staff, and attendees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should follow CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. People who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including children under the age of 12, should use prevention strategies, such as wearing masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette. Event organizers can decide to implement multiple layered prevention strategies at an event or gathering that will include people who are fully vaccinated and people who are not fully vaccinated in order to protect all staff and attendees.
Event planners can use several key strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Key Prevention Strategies for Facilities:
- Promote vaccination against COVID-19.
- Work with local and state health departments to offer COVID-19 vaccination events.
- Prevent crowding at events, for example, by modifying layouts or installing physical barriers or guides to support physical distancing, where appropriate.
- Hold events outdoors, when possible.
- Improve ventilation for indoor events.
- Conduct routine cleaning to help maintain healthy facilities.
Key Prevention Strategies for Staff and Attendees:
- Ensure staff and attendees wear masks correctly and consistently.
- Encourage physical distancing.
- Encourage staff and attendees to cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands.
- Encourage staff and attendees to stay home if they are sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, and to get tested for COVID-19.
- Tell staff and attendees who are not fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 to quarantine and get tested for COVID-19.
- Conduct contact tracing, in combination with isolation and quarantine for staff or attendees who show symptoms of COVID-19. These steps should be taken in a manner consistent with applicable laws and regulations, including those relating to privacy, and in collaboration with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments.
Organizers might choose to separate attendees into groups when arranging seating or planning activities for an event or gathering. This approach can limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 between small groups, but it should not replace other prevention measures within each group, including wearing masks.
How many guests can safely attend a conference, sporting event, concert, or other community event?
CDC does not provide specific numbers, including maximum or minimum numbers, of attendees for events and gatherings. Event organizers should work with local public health officials and follow applicable local laws and regulations, including those related to privacy, to determine the prevention strategies needed in their area. Event organizers should also monitor levels of community transmission (low, moderate, substantial, or high) and local COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
The event space should allow people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to remain at least 6 feet apart from each other whenever indoors. Other prevention strategies (see FAQ on prevention strategies, above), such as wearing masks, should also be followed. In areas with substantial to high transmission, any outdoor space should allow people who are not fully vaccinated to avoid crowded situations and sustained close contact. Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces because it can be harder to maintain physical distancing indoors, and viral particles disperse more easily outdoors than indoors.
In general, the more people who interact, the more closely they interact, and the longer those interactions occur, the greater the risk of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
Should organizers test all attendees and staff for COVID-19 before they can enter an event? Should we conduct temperature checks and COVID-19 symptom screening at the door?
- Organizers may consider testing all unvaccinated attendees and staff for the virus that causes COVID-19 (or requiring proof of a negative viral test 1-3 days before the event) before allowing them to enter an event. Such entry testing at event venues could identify infected people and reduce risk of person-to-person transmission.
- Organizers may consider exempting fully vaccinated attendees and staff from this screening testing requirement, as the risk of fully vaccinated individuals being infected is significantly reduced.
- Entry testing should be implemented in combination with other preventive measures (such as physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and routine cleaning and disinfecting).
- In areas of substantial to high transmission, CDC does recommend conducting health checks, such as temperature screening or checking symptoms of staff and attendees safely and respectfully, in accordance with any applicable privacy laws and regulations.