COVID-19 Recommendations for Private Events

Published by The Bee News

October 7, 2020

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Guidance from Governor

These recommendations may be used when planning private events, such as weddings, funerals, conferences and meetings not open to the general public. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, under all circumstances, the following precautions should be taken by people attending private events:

● Stay home if you are sick.
● Protect yourself while attending events:
○ Arizonans are safer at home and should evaluate their personal risk of attending an event based on the Arizona COVID-19 Risk Index and CDC’s
People at Increased Risk.
■ If you are at higher risk for severe illness, you should avoid attending private events with more than 10 people. People at higher risk for severe illness include adults 65 or older and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
■ Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet, and avoid close contact with people not in your party.

○ Wear a mask while at the event at all times, except while actively eating or drinking.
■ Masks should cover your nose and mouth and should be worn by all attendees over the age of 2 years who can safely manage their own

○ Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that
contains at least 60% alcohol.
■ Washing your hands is especially important before eating, after using the restroom, and after leaving the event.
■ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
○ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
○ If possible, use touchless payment methods. If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands immediately

The Arizona Department of Health Services recommends the following additional steps be taken by event planners and operators to ensure that employees and guests follow these guidelines: Comply with All Local, State, and Federal Laws Pertaining to Private Events Require Physical Distancing
● Limit occupancy to ensure appropriate physical distancing of guests.
○ Recommend limiting occupancy to 50% of the permitted fire code occupant load.

● Prioritize outdoor activities where physical distancing can be maintained as much as possible.
● Limit attendance or seating capacity or host smaller events in larger rooms.
● Change seating layout or availability of seating so that parties can remain at least 6 feet apart from other groups.
○ Block off rows or sections of seating.
○ Limit seating to alternate rows.
○ Clearly mark chairs that are not in use.
● Stagger and limit attendance times to minimize the number of guests at the venue.
● Use multiple entrances and exits and discourage crowded waiting areas.
○ Where possible, implement one-way traffic within the facility.
● Eliminate lines or queues if possible or encourage people to maintain physical distance.
○ Provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that individuals remain at least 6 feet apart in lines (e.g.,
guides for creating one-way routes).

● Close communal spaces and common areas where people are likely to congregate and interact.
○ If unable to close the area, restrict access and have employees staff the area to enforce physical distancing.
○ Stagger use of shared indoor spaces such as dining halls, meeting rooms, and lounges as much as possible and clean and disinfect them between uses.
● Consider requiring online reservations for events and limit the number of guests in the venue to allow for appropriate physical distancing.
○ Do not conduct back-to-back events.
○ Time between events is needed to allow for the air to recirculate and for staff to thoroughly clean spaces and equipment and provide proper ventilation.
● Arrange concession areas, entrances, ticket lines, waiting areas, lobbies, and hallways to enforce physical distancing.
○ Do not allow customers to wait in concession areas, entrances, ticket lines, waiting areas, lobbies, or hallways.
○ Assign staff to monitor areas where customers may congregate to enforce physical distancing.
○ Sanitize areas regularly between use.

Enforce the Use of Masks for both Employees and Attendees
● Enforce the use of masks for both employees and attendees.
● Remind attendees ahead of the event to bring and use masks at the event.
● Provide all staff with information on proper use, removal, and washing of masks.
Enforce Healthy Hygiene Practices for Both Employees and Attendees
● Enforce handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes.
● Ensure adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene practices for both employees and attendees including soap and water, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol (perhaps on every table and counter, if supplies allow), and single-use paper towels.
● Ensure hand sanitizer is available at or adjacent to entrances to the facility, restrooms and in employee work areas, or soap and running water readily
accessible to staff and attendees at marked locations.
● Post physical and/or electronic signage at the entrance of public health advisories prohibiting individuals who are symptomatic from entering the premises.
● Post signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, including: proper hand hygiene, everyday protective measures, and proper mask etiquette.
Minimize Environmental Risk
● Ensure that ventilation systems of indoor spaces operate properly.
○ If weather permits, increase the circulation of outdoor air as much as
possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, or other methods.

● Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation practices.
○ Wash, rinse, and sanitize food contact surfaces, food preparation surfaces, and beverage equipment after use.
○ Implement comprehensive sanitation protocols, including increased sanitation schedules for bathrooms.
○ Sanitize attendee areas after each sitting with EPA-registered disinfectant and use according to the label. Highly touched surfaces include but are not
limited to:
■ Tables and tablecloths,
■ Bar tops and counters , and
■ Chairs/booth seats, armrests, beverage holders, handrails, and any other items that attendees may touch between each use.

○ Wipe any touchpads between each use.
○ Wipe any pens, counters, or hard surfaces between use or customer.
○ Provide access to soap and water for handwashing or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, containing at least 60% alcohol, at clearly marked stations around the venue for use by employees and attendees. Require employees to regularly wash hands for at least 20 seconds.
○ Provide adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, disinfecting wipes, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
○ Schedule sufficient time to sanitize in between events.
○ Close areas such as drinking fountains that cannot be adequately cleaned and disinfected during an event.

● Consider limiting the number of people who occupy the restroom at one time to allow for physical distancing.
○ Do not allow lines or crowds to form near the restroom without maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people. It may be helpful to post signs or markers to help attendees maintain the appropriate distance of at least 6 feet.
● Ensure that open restrooms are:
○ Operational with functional toilets.
○ Cleaned and disinfected regularly, particularly high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, stall doors, doorknobs, countertops, diaper changing tables, and light switches.
■ Clean and disinfect restrooms daily or more often, if possible, with EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19.
■ Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep products away from children.
○ Adequately stocked with supplies for handwashing, including soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol , paper towels, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
○ If you are providing portable toilets, also provide portable handwashing stations and ensure that they remain stocked throughout the duration of the
event. If possible, provide hand sanitizer stations that are touch-free.
● Communication Systems
○ Encourage staff and attendees to self-report to event organizers if they have symptoms of COVID-19.
○ Advise attendees prior to the event or gathering that they should not attend if they have symptoms of, a positive test for, or were recently exposed (within 14 days) to COVID-19.
○ Notify staff and attendees of cancellations and restrictions in place to limit people’s exposure to COVID-19 (e.g., limited hours of operation).

Ensure Safe On-site Dining:
● If the event includes food service, refer to the ADHS Requirements for Restaurants & Bars Providing Dine-In Services.
● Bar top or counter seating is not allowed, unless each party is spaced more than 6 feet apart or is separated by glass, plexiglass or some other type of divider.
● Establishments with indoor or outdoor dining areas shall ensure more than 6 feet of physical distance between tables, benches or other areas to sit while dining.
● Eliminate instances where customers serve their own food, including salad bars and
● Avoid using or sharing items that cannot be properly sanitized such as menus, condiments, seasonings/flavorings and any other food. Instead, use disposable or digital menus, single-serving condiments, and no-touch trash cans and doors.
● Concession areas must wash, rinse, and sanitize food contact surfaces, food preparation surfaces, and beverage equipment after each use.
● Do not provide alcoholic beverages other than at a concession area with clean glasses.
○ Wash, rinse, and sanitize beverage equipment after each use.
○ Consider using single-use beverage equipment if proper cleaning and sanitization cannot be maintained.

Prohibit High Risk Activities
● Dancing – Dancing is temporarily prohibited (with the limited exception below) and anyone with a dance floor or dance space must close that section to the public or repurpose it for seating to allow for greater physical distancing.
○ Dancing can be allowed in special circumstances where the dancers can be limited to a small number or specific guests, such as a dance competition
where one couple is on the floor at a time and/or a father-daughter/mother-son/wedding party dance at a wedding
● Parlor games – parlor games (such as pool, darts, or other games commonly associated with eating and drinking establishments) shall temporarily be closed.
● Karaoke – Karaoke or other live performances in which customers are active participants shall be temporarily halted.

The Arizona Department of Health Services recommends the following additional
steps be taken for staff:
● Require sick employees to stay home and not return to work until they have met criteria to return to work.
○ Employees who appear to have symptoms or who become ill while at work should immediately be separated from others and sent home.
○ Document and communicate sick leave policies to employees and staff.
● Implement flexible sick leave policies that permit adherence to public health isolation and quarantine guidance.
● Masks and frequent handwashing are required for all staff.
○ Develop standards for the use of masks by employees at all times.
○ Develop and enforce handwashing policy for food servers as it exists in the Food Code.
● Implement symptom screening for employees prior to the start of their shift.
○ Conduct wellness/symptom checks, which may include temperature checks for all personnel, at the door and before the opening of the establishment.
● Assign duties to vulnerable workers that minimize their contact with attendees and other employees.
● Train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette.
● Ensure that all employees are notified of new venue rules and any changes in rules.
● Ensure that employees maintain at least 6 feet of separation from other individuals, when possible.
● Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees in accordance with public health recommendations.
● Provide adequate supplies in employee workspaces to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, disinfecting wipes, tissues, and no-touch trash cans.
● Train all employees in the above safety actions.
● See Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) COVID-19 guidance for employers and workers.
● Limit, stagger, or rotate shifts and attendance times.
○ Consider ways to significantly reduce the number of attendees.

○ Rotate or stagger shifts and arrival times to limit the number of employees in a venue at the same time.

The list of EPA-approved disinfectant products for emerging viral pathogens expected to be effective against COVID-19 can be accessed here.
For additional guidance on cleaning, visit CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility page and CDC’s Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes.

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