Large Gatherings

COVID19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance

Last updated: Mar 5, 2021

The State of Maine has adopted a staged approach, supported by science, public health expertise, and industry collaboration, to allow Maine businesses to safely open when the time is right. The plan is available at

This is one of many industry guidance documents the State is preparing for businesses so they can be prepared to meet health guidelines and reopen safely. Please make sure you pair this document with the general guidance document that applies to all industries, which is available on

Please note: This document may be updated as additional information and resources become available. 

Large Gatherings

Group social gatherings and large community events, such as spectator events, weddings, and other celebrations, 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 face coverings, 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 religious event, indoors or outdoors, the layout of the venue)
  • whether the event will be attended by registered or non-registered participants
  • profession of the participants and their possible previous exposure
  • 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
  • type or purpose of event
  • duration and mode of travel of participants
  • increased duration of the event may increase risk of transmission

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 for invited or registered participants, event organizers should maintain a record of participants including contact information for contact tracing purposes to the extent practicable. Based on current knowledge, a close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated. Close contacts of an infected person should stay home, maintain social distancing, and self-monitor until 14 days from the last date of exposure.

Maintain Physical Distancing At All Times

Organizers, staff, volunteers, and attendees are encouraged to follow physical distancing guidelines including maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals and a distance of 6 feet between household groups.

  • The number of individuals that can gather in a shared space must not exceed the limit established by the Governor’s Executive Order, currently set at 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
    • Further breaking a gathering up into smaller groups is encouraged to reduce potential exposure.
    • If a space cannot accommodate the gathering limit without complying with the six-foot distancing requirement, occupancy must be limited to allow for such compliance.
  • Gatherings and in-store customer limits as further established by the Governor's Executive Order are subject to the following limits: (Updated 3/5/21)
    • All indoor gatherings and in-store customer limits:
      • Effective March 26, 2021 through May 23, 2021: 50% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons (or 5 people per 1,000 square feet for retail establishments), whichever is greater.
      • Effective May 24, 2021 and thereafter: 75% of permitted occupancy or 50 persons (or 5 people per 1,000 square feet for retail establishments), whichever is greater.
    • 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.
  • Face coverings must be worn in public settings.
  • Consider designating areas of outdoor venues that provide visual cues to appropriately space seating, lawn chairs, blankets, etc. so that physical distancing may be practiced.
  • Encourage visitors to bring their own food and supplies when possible.
  • Food vendors should wear face coverings, practice hand hygiene, use barriers or tables to maintain physical distancing to the extent possible, and ensure that patrons do not crowd sales area.
  • Signage can help attendees follow one-way traffic patterns to avoid crowding in paths or hallways.
  • Consider designated entrances and exits to minimize face-to-face exposure of patrons entering and exiting the establishment.
  • Consider displaying posters and signs around the venue to remind patrons to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These messages may include information about:
    • Staying home if you are sick or do not feel well, and what to do if you’re sick or feel ill
    • Maintaining at least six feet between individuals
    • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash
    • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Spectator Events (Added 7/24/20)

For outdoor spectator events (seated or standing), such as professional sports or concerts, venues may divide seating into separate areas with up to 50 people each if: (Updated 8/5/20)

  • There is at least 14 feet of separation between sections, with physical barriers to prevent intermingling between sections
  • There is enough space for 6 feet of separation between household groups within each section
    • Household groups are considered up to 10 people
  • Each section has access to separate restrooms, concessions, or other offered services, to prevent intermingling
  • Sections have independent entrances and exits, or entrance and exit times are staggered so there is no overlap between sections
  • There are no more than 4 separate seating sections

Other general considerations

  • 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 areas.
  • Outside events are preferable to inside events in order to reduce the risk of exposure to respiratory droplets from attendees. Increase airflow through open windows and doors for indoor events to the extent practicable.
  • For indoor events, understand the square footage of the event space and limit the number of people in the space to ensure physical distancing can be maintained. (Updated 10/6/20)
  • Crowding should be minimized where possible, and event organizers should consider using distancing measures to reduce close contact among people during the gathering (for example, by increasing the frequency of transport, staggering arrivals and departures, and minimizing congregation at sanitary stations and food and water distribution areas.
  • If the event involves transactions:
    • Promote “contactless” payment options (e.g., online payments, pay by phone options, RFID credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.)
    • Where possible, card readers should be placed in front of physical barriers so visitors can swipe their own cards and enter their codes.
    • Wash hands or use alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) after handling credit, debit, or identification cards, or cash.

General Cleaning and Disinfection

Refer to the following documents for guidance on general cleaning and disinfection:

COVID-19 Prevention Form

In order to open, businesses must 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 or 1-800-872-3838.