The first Coronavirus death reported on United States soil was on 29th February 2020. Since then the United States, along with the rest of the world, have imposed restrictions and guidelines on everything from festivals to travel, large celebrations and even small group gatherings.
Guidance for event planners
On 15th March 2020, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention launched the first set of guidelines which highlighted mass events and gatherings as areas which would allow the virus to spread and flourish – particularly with travel of visitors from outside the area, who may infect new communities. Since then, these guidelines have been constantly updated to reflect the ever-changing situation across the States.
The events highlighted in the CDC guidance included:
- Sporting Events
It was noted that the events under guidance were not and should not be considered limited to company and organisation events, but also to privately hosted and individually run events.
Initial guidance recommended that event planners make contingency plans in light of a potential outbreak. However, as time passed and the cases of Coronavirus became more widespread, the CDC guidelines became more clear cut and advised against any mass events of more than 250 people, as well as events of 10 or more individuals who are considered high risk.
In other cases, emergency operational plans were advised, to coordinate social distancing measures and provide COVID-19 protective gear to all event staff and guests as a precaution.
The full list of advice published by the CDC in response to events across the United States, includes:
- Communicate the dangers and risks of COVID-19 to all involved in the event
- Promote preventative actions such as hand washing and avoiding contact
- Plan for staff absence and sick leave
- Consider alternative staffing for anyone who is considered high risk
- Promote any message which discourages a sick person from attending
- Identify a space to isolate any event participants who become ill at the event
- Develop refund policies for any guest who want to cancel attendance
- Identify the actions necessary should you need to cancel the event
- In the case where a substantial spread of COVID-19 has been seen in the community, CDC recommends cancelling events of any size
By 7th April 2020, 95% of all American citizens were under lockdown restrictions, with 42 of the 50 states imposing strict stay at home orders.
On 20th April, anti-lockdown protests started to pop up around the USA, with revellers protesting the restrictions in a move which broke all recommended social distancing policies. Since then, the White House has published a plan for “Opening Up America Again”. Read more here.
Mass events across the United States which have been cancelled or postponed in light of Coronavirus
- The NBA season
- Kentucky Derby
- NASCAR racing
- League Baseball
- Major League Soccer
- The Boston Marathon
- Met Gala annual benefit
- The annual Tony’s ceremony
- Broadway and other live shows
A full list of events cancelled across the world due to Coronavirus can be found here.