Weddings and Other Private 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.

Group social gatherings such as weddings, celebrations, and similar private events with invited attendees 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 to reduce community transmission and introductions of COVID-19 into new communities.

Weddings and Other Private Events

General Guidance

  1. Require all staff, vendors, and attendees to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from individuals who are not part of their household group or dining party whenever possible.
    1. To facilitate physical distancing among attendees, space dining tables to ensure that attendees at separate tables are no less than 6 feet apart when seated.
    2. Ensure employees/vendors stay 6 feet apart whenever practical.
  2. Masks must be worn by all individuals (including vendors and attendees) in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order.
    1. Attendees must wear masks at all times, including when seated at their table, except while eating or drinking. Attendees are strongly encouraged to put on their mask any time there is waitstaff at the table (e.g., when delivering food or drink, busing tables).
  3. Establishments must comply with the following capacity limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings, as established by the Governor's Executive Order:
    1. 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.
    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.

Operations

  1. Out-of-state vendors and attendees must follow the testing and quarantine requirements of the Moving Maine Forward plan.
  2. International attendees must follow U.S. CDC and Maine travel guidelines.
    1. Effective January 26, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all air passengers entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days​. 
    2. Maine International Travel Guidance requires 7 days of quarantine and a negative COVID-19 test within 3-5 days of arrival.
  3. Responsible parties should remind attendees and staff 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. Encourage attendees and require 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 US CDC’s website (see: Coronavirus Self-Checker).
    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?
  5. Limit event attendees to invited guests only. If the event is open to the public (e.g., a publicly advertised funeral versus a private one by invitation only), it should follow the Large Gatherings checklist.
  6. Consider asking attendees to receive a COVID-19 test prior to the event, get vaccinated against COVID-19, and/or adopt pre-event behavior changes to lower risk of transmission.
  7. Indoor events, especially in places with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor events. Consider holding as much of your gathering outside as possible.
  8. The free airflow of outdoor spaces lowers the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Closing a tent removes that benefit. For that reason, gatherings that use tents should keep at least two sides open and unimpeded to maintain air exchange and flow, even if there is inclement weather. All physical distancing and occupancy guidelines apply to tented spaces.
  9. Events that last longer pose more risk than shorter events. Consider limiting the duration of your event.
  10. Events with more people increase the likelihood of being exposed. Consider limiting the number of people at your event.
  11. For contact tracing purposes, responsible parties must maintain a record of attendees and vendors, including one name and contact information per household group/travel party and the server of the table (if applicable). Responsible parties must maintain these records for at least 21 days.
  12. Place signage at entrances and throughout the venue (particularly high traffic areas such as service counters) alerting staff and attendees to physical distancing requirements, mask policies, and symptoms of COVID-19.
  13. Inform individuals of your COVID-19 policies and procedures in advance, if possible, via website, newsletters, social media channels, newspaper, ticket purchasing site, etc.
  14. To facilitate physical distancing among attendees, space dining tables to ensure that attendees at separate tables are no less than 6 feet apart when seated.
  15. To the extent practicable, assign seating by immediate party/family/household group.
  16. The maximum group party size per dining table is 8 people.
  17. Buffets and self-service food stations (e.g. hot and cold bars, bulk items, baked goods) should adhere to these additional minimum guidelines:
    1. Patrons may self-serve food if hand sanitizer stations are located at both ends of the buffet or self-service station and signage is posted to require hand sanitizing before each visit to a station.
    2. If areas are not configured for self-service, designated staff (e.g., buffet attendant) should serve onto patron’s plate while wearing a mask and gloves, and maintaining 6 feet of physical distance with patrons and other employees.
    3. Separate buffet stations should maintain 6 feet of distancing and allow for physical distancing between patrons throughout establishment.
    4. Impermeable barriers should be put in place between servers and patrons; patron and servers should not exchange or pass the same plate multiple times.
    5. Queue points should be established 6 feet apart with markers to encourage social distancing.
    6. Queues should be limited to patrons from the same dining party to the extent possible.
    7. Utensils used for serving should be changed hourly.
    8. Children in self-service food areas must be supervised by an adult.
    9. Masks must be worn at all times by individuals in self-service food areas.
  18. Venues may have more than one event on the same premises at the same time so long as each event is held in different areas on the premises (e.g., indoor vs. outdoor spaces, separate rooms). Attendees from separate events should not share any spaces or rooms including restrooms, use the same entrances/exits at the same time, or otherwise engage in in-person interaction.
  19. On-premises restaurant dining areas that serve patrons in dining parties that are not associated with the event attendees may continue to serve such patrons within the designated dining area as long as they are separated from the event spaces or rooms. Consider having separate waitstaff for the dining area and event area.
  20. When attendees are not seated or standing at a table they must not remove their mask and must not consume food and beverage if members of different parties/household/families are within six feet.
  21. 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.
  22. Responsible parties may permit dancing within the following parameters:
    1. Select attendees, who are designated to the Responsible Parties prior to the event, may participate in ceremonial dances with members of their immediate party/household/family (e.g., first dances at a wedding reception) so long as they maintain six feet of separation from other attendees.
    2. Attendees must wear masks while dancing and maintain six feet of physical distancing when possible. 
  23. Limit restroom occupancy for group restrooms to incorporate physical distancing and avoid formation of waiting lines outside of restrooms.
  24. Modify traffic flow to minimize contact between staff and attendees; consider one-way entrances and exits, if possible. Use floor decals and/or signage to establish travel patterns.

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.