Large Gatherings/Ticketed Events

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Apr 5, 2021

The State of Maine has adopted a multi-layered approach to COVID-19 guidance—supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration—to help Maine businesses and community organizations operate safely. As we enter the second year of the pandemic, these updated guidelines highlight the importance of employing multi-layered mitigation strategies to keep Maine businesses, employees, and residents as safe as possible from COVID-19 transmission. Public health guidance will continue to evolve as we learn which mitigation strategies most effectively reduce transmission risk.

No single measure or action will completely prevent transmission of COVID-19. Use of multiple strategies—sometimes called layered mitigation—provides greater protection than implementing a single strategy alone. When multiple mitigation strategies—including masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and ventilation—are consistently and correctly used, risk of transmission is decreased. 

Please make sure you pair this guidance with the general guidance available at https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists.

For the latest information on travel policies and Executive Orders related to COVID-19 visit the Office of the Governor’s COVID-19 Response website: https://www.maine.gov/covid19.

Lage Gatherings/Ticketed Events

Large ticketed gatherings, such as structured festivals and graduations, bring people from multiple communities into close contact with each other and have the potential to increase COVID-19 transmission. The primary tools to control the spread of COVID-19 are to reduce exposure to respiratory droplets through physical distancing and masks, increase hand hygiene, and avoid shared items and common touch surfaces. The goals of this guidance are to protect people attending and working at the event and the local community from COVID-19 infection; and to reduce community transmission and introductions of COVID-19 into new communities.

Specific event features to consider when planning:

  • crowd density
  • nature of contact between participants (for example, a concert or graduation, indoors or outdoors, the layout of the venue)
  • number of participants coming from states or areas more heavily impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak within 14 days before the event
  • age or health of participants
  • duration and mode of travel of participants
  • duration of the event

Projection of respiratory particles is increased during singing, yelling, dancing, sports, and games. Exposure to respiratory droplets with such activities increases the transmission risk of COVID-19 to attendees, particularly in crowded areas and indoor settings.

If the event includes prolonged interaction between participants, event organizers should maintain a record of participants including contact information for contact tracing purposes to the extent practicable. Based on current scientific knowledge, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. An individual is also considered a close contact if they provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them), shared eating or drinking utensils, or if the person sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on them.

General Guidance

  1. Require all staff, vendors, and attendees to wear a mask, per CDC recommendations and pertinent Executive Orders from the Office of the Governor.
    1. Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection. Information about proper use of masks is available from the US CDC (see: Considerations for Wearing Masks).
    2. Change your mask if it becomes wet or soiled.
    3. During unmasked activities such as communal eating and drinking additional mitigation strategies must be in place, such as physical distancing and increased ventilation.
  2. Require all staff, vendors, and attendees to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not members of the same household group/travel party.
  3. Gatherings and in-store customer limits, as established by the Governor's Executive Order, are subject to the following limits:
    1. All indoor gatherings and in-store customer limits are amended as follows:
      • Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy, 5 persons per 1,000 sq. ft., or 50 persons, whichever is greatest.
      • Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy, 5 persons per 1,000 sq. ft., or 50 persons, whichever is greatest.
    2. Any outdoor gathering taking place at a facility or event that is subject to a permitted occupancy limit is subject to the following limits:
      • Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 75% of permitted occupancy.
      • Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 100% of permitted occupancy.
    3. People in a shared space must be able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals outside of their household group/travel party. If a space cannot accommodate individuals maintaining 6 feet of physical distance, further restrict the number of individuals allowed in that space beyond the limits established by Executive Order.

Event Staff and Entertainment Personnel

  1. Large gatherings must be ticketed events with registered participants.
  2. Out-of-state staff and vendors must follow the testing and quarantine requirements of the Moving Maine Forward plan.
    1. Event organizers should include information on the requirements of the Moving Maine Forward plan on ticketing websites and at points of in-person ticket.
  3. Staff must stay at home if they are sick. Supervisors must ask all staff to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms using either of the following approaches:
    1. Use an electronic or app-based self-screening form, such as the Coronavirus Self-Checker available on the federal CDC’s COVID-19 homepage.
    2. Self-screen using the following questions:
      • Do you feel ill or have you been caring for someone who is ill?
      • In the past two weeks, have you been exposed to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?
  4. Consider employee training in safe de-escalation techniques.
  5. Entertainment personnel must follow physical distancing and mask guidelines.
    1. Activities like singing or using a projected voice project respiratory droplets in greater quantity and over a greater distance, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly with prolonged exposure. Maintain at least 14 feet of separation—and more if possible—between audience members and performers. Maximize physical spacing between performers on stage. Face shields are recommended for singers in addition to masks, if practical.
    2. Performances without singing and/or wind instruments present a lower-risk of COVID-19 transmission. Consider pursuing these types of entertainment options.
    3. Because singing is a higher risk activity, well-fitting, three-layer, surgical-style masks are recommended.
    4. Transmission risk increases with the duration of the performance. Consider limiting the duration of performances.
    5. In indoor settings, performances that include singing or playing of brass or woodwind instruments must not take place at times when patrons may be eating or drinking.
    6. In outdoor settings, performances with singing or playing of brass or woodwind instruments may take place while patrons are eating or drinking.
    7. Where possible, install barriers to minimize travel of respiratory droplets from vocalists and brass and woodwind instruments. Set up bands to maximize physical distancing between musicians. Consider installing sneeze guards/mute shields between musicians, if possible.
    8. Karaoke presents unique COVID-19 mitigation challenges. Karaoke should not take place in indoor settings where the audience will not be wearing masks (i.e. when patrons are eating or drinking). Karaoke participants must wear masks at all times. Any shared equipment (i.e. microphones) should be cleaned and disinfected between uses.

Attendees

  1. Household groups/travel parties are considered up to 10 people.
  2. Inform attendees of your COVID-19 policies and procedures in advance, if possible, via website, newsletters, social media assets, newspaper, etc.
  3. Remind attendees that anyone who feels sick or has any COVID-19-like symptoms, must stay home and not attend the event. Signage reminding individuals of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 is recommended.
  4. Attendees must wear masks while dancing and maintain six feet of physical distancing when possible.

Operational Considerations

  1. If food is provided, any vendors or catering services should refer to the food and drink service checklist. Encourage visitors to bring their own food and supplies when possible.
  2. Outside events are preferable to inside events in order to reduce the risk of exposure to respiratory droplets from attendees. If events are indoors, follow the ventilation guidance in the general guidance checklist.
  3. For contact tracing purposes, maintain a record of attendees, including one visitor name and contact information per travel party, and the date they were in the establishment/venue, for at least 21 days.
  4. Place signage at entrances and throughout the venue (particularly high traffic areas such as service counters and information desks) alerting staff and visitors to required occupancy limits, physical distancing requirements, and mask policies.
  5. Crowding should be minimized where possible, and event organizers should implement strategies to reduce close contact among people during the gathering.
    1. Eliminate waiting areas and lines to the greatest extent practicable. Where lines are unavoidable, ensure 6 feet of distance between individuals. This can be accomplished by demarcating 6-foot distances on floors or walls.
    2. Modify traffic flow in the venue to minimize contact between staff, contractors, and visitors; consider one-way entrances and exits, if possible. Use floor decals and/or signage to establish travel patterns.
    3. To the extent practicable, designate separate restrooms, concession, or other offered services to different sections of the venue to prevent intermingling.
    4. Consider designated entrances and exits to minimize face-to-face exposure of individuals entering and exiting the establishment.
    5. Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to incorporate physical distancing and avoid formation of waiting lines outside of restrooms.
  6. Promoting appropriate hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette at large gatherings requires providing informational materials that reach a range of age groups and varying reading and educational levels. In addition, soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers and tissues should be easily accessible in all common area. 
  7. Due to concerns about crowd density and crowd control, parades are not recommended at this time.

Portable Toilets

  1. Lower the ratio of attendees per portable toilet to minimize the creation of lines.
  2. If possible, increase the space between portable toilets to maximum physical distancing between lines.
  3. Demarcate 6 foot distances on the ground or with signage in any areas where lines may form.
  4. Ensure that each portable toilet is stocked with hand sanitizer and/or that hand washing stations are available.
  5. Keeping a volunteer(s) on-site to monitor and restock supplies and monitor lines is recommended.

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, if you have not already done so, please commit to complying with requirements of these checklists by filling out this short online form. Please note that religious organizations and licensed health care providers are not required to use this form.

If you have questions, please contact us at business.answers@maine.gov or 1-800-872-3838.