Events during the COVID-19 pandemic
PLANNING AN EVENT OVER 50 PEOPLE
Measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 are required for all events in Madison County.
The Madison Public Health Board approved the Madison Public Health Department’s plans for events during phase two of Gov. Steve Bullock’s Reopening the Big Sky plan June 16. Gatherings larger than 50 people in Madison County have to consult with the MCPHD on implementing adequate social distancing. The governor ordered local public health departments to assess and determine events larger than 50 people. The MCPHB did not implement any further restrictions than what the executive order provided.
“To contact trace [for these large events] is unmanageable for our local health department,” Madison County Public Health Nurse Melissa Brummel said. “That is why we have to have social distancing.”
Certain gatherings that are inherently unstructured, like concerts and wedding reception dances, pose a public health concern because physical distancing cannot be maintained. The MCPHB recommends such events be limited to 50 people or fewer. Events with more than 50 people will be allowed if they provide structured conditions with identified seating arrangements and controls for entrances and exits. Places of potential congestion, like doorways and bathrooms, will need measures to prevent the bottlenecking of people.
The MCPHD, in conjunction with the governor’s executive orders, will require groups larger than 50 people to be canceled unless physical distancing can be maintained. Event plans must include measures to space groups at least 6 feet from other groups and limit people’s interactions within the virus contact period.
The COVID-19 contact period is an accumulative 15 minutes within six feet of an infected person, due to the potential airborne abilities of the virus, according to the CDC.
All event staff must be assessed for COVID-19 symptoms. Visibly sick people or people with a cough, fever, chills, body aches, headache, sore throat, breathing difficulty or new loss of taste or smell must be sent home.
“We don’t want to see high risk individuals as servers or working at events over 50 people,” Brummel said.
Self-service food bars and buffets are prohibited. Other requirements may apply, depending on the event venue. Frequent sanitizing of surfaces and Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting are required throughout the state of emergency.
People must submit a plan online or in person to the MCPHD for events with more than 50 people. The department will respond within 10 business days of receiving the plan. The MCPHB may need to review the plans, depending on the size and complexities of the event.