As the holiday season approaches, California stands strong in keeping gatherings to a minimum.
The California Department of Public Health released an updated set of guidelines this month. These guidelines mandate a limit to the number of households per gathering, putting emphasis on the holiday months and why people should gather in caution.
Coronavirus cases are slowly reaching a more stable limit in the golden state. Hospitalizations and deaths have dropped to the lowest level in six months and Californians are beginning to feel relieved.
With more counties beginning to open up again, officials are worried about what will happen in the coming months. Previously, the state had banned all gatherings of any kind as well as mingling of any households.
Governor Gavin Newsom said officials are looking to keep the number of cases low.
“We are entering into the holidays, but also we’re entering into a part of the year where things cool down and people are more likely to congregate back indoors in settings that put their physical proximity and likelihood of transmission and transmitting disease at higher risk,” he said.
Many traditional Halloween celebrations, such as parties and door to door trick-or-treating, pose a high risk of spreading COVID-19. Officials mandate staying inside this year with family or others within your household.
Newsom is requiring the state to follow new guidelines centered on Thanksgiving gatherings.
Here are the guidelines:
Gatherings of no more than three households are permitted. The CDPH recommends spending time with the same people where the risk of transmission would be reduced. The department also recommends that hosts should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.
All gatherings must be held outdoors. Attendees may go inside to use the restrooms so long as the restrooms maintain frequent sanitation. Shade structures such as umbrellas, canopies, awnings or roofs may be provided but there must be 75% of the space open to the outdoors. If gathering at a park or local community spot, intermixing of groups present is not allowed. It is required that you stay with your own group of no more than three households.
Don’t attend gatherings if you feel sick or you are in a high-risk group:
Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must stay home and not come into contact with anyone outside their household. If you develop COVID-19 48 hours after attending a gathering, it is important to let the other attendees know. People at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are strongly urged to not attend gatherings.
Practice physical distancing and hand hygiene at gatherings
For all gatherings, it is important to maintain physical distance. The space should be big enough to allow at least 6 feet of physical distance between everyone there. Seating must provide 6 feet of distance from another as well. Everyone at a gathering should frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Shared items should not be used at a gathering. Food must be in single-serve disposable containers.
Wear a face covering to keep COVID-19 from spreading
When gathering, face coverings must be worn in accordance with the CDPH guidance on the use of face coverings. People may remove their face coverings for a short amount of time to eat and drink as long as they stay 6 feet apart from those outside their own household.
Keep it short
Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.
Rules for singing, chanting and shouting at outdoor gatherings
Singing, chanting, shouting and physical exertion significantly increases the risk of COVID-19. Because of this, these activities are strongly discouraged. If wanting to take part in these activities, wearing a face mask is mandatory. Physical distancing of greater than 6 feet is recommended.
As the pandemic continues to affect California, Newsom said the state must open slowly. Every county has been categorized into risk tiers that are continuously updated with the latest cases and deaths. With this tracking system, the state hopes to moderately gauge the status of each county in the hopes of completely reopening California once again.