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Since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate has increased by 410% and the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients has increased by 63%. In addition, the recent emergence of the Omicron variant (it is estimated that approximately 70% of cases sequenced, nationally, are Omicron and rapid increases are occurring globally) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts to continue protecting against COVID-19.
Early data also suggest the increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant is two to four times as infectious as the Delta variant, and there is evidence of immune evasion.
On June 15, California fully reopened the economy and moved beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. All sectors listed in the
Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart (PDF) returned to usual operations (with the limited exceptions noted below for Mega Events).
California led the nation in emerging from the Delta surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. This is due in large part to the collective efforts of Californians to get vaccinated and wear masks. Vaccination remains the ultimate exit strategy out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we still have a ways to go. Although infection rates had been decreasing, they are increasing again, and at least 42 counties continue to experience high transmission, as
classified by the CDC.
Ongoing vigilance is necessary to protect against COVID-19. This continues to be the case for large, indoor events, which have the potential to cause large, substantial, and severe outbreaks. As we enter the winter season, more Californians and others entering California will be participating in indoor events and traveling across the state, country, and the globe, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Large events involve several factors that increase the risk of transmission including (a) persons attending often travel from outside the immediate area, from areas with higher levels of transmission, and some types of travel may increase the risk of exposure; (b) events have prolonged duration; (c) crowding is common in large events; (d) even in counties or venues with universal masking requirements, masks are removed for eating and drinking; and (e) the larger the number of people gathered in crowded settings, the greater the likelihood that contagious persons are present and the more individuals who are exposed with the potential of becoming infected and spreading infections within their families, communities, schools, and workplaces.
The risk of spreading COVID-19 is decreased when all parties are vaccinated. Vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result verification, especially indoors, is an additional, important strategy to reduce transmission in large gatherings, especially where masks are removed for eating, drinking and where activities (like singing, yelling, or cheering) that increase transmission risk are occurring, even when masks are being worn. In the context of concerning levels of transmission throughout much of the state, country, and worldwide and the ongoing risk of large gatherings, it is important that these mitigation strategies remain in place.
On December 1, all attendees age 18 and older were required to provide identification to confirm the individual presenting proof of vaccination or negative test is the attendee entering the facility or venue. This additional measure is important at this time given that the frequency of indoor events will rise during this winter season, and many individuals attending these events may be coming from states and other countries that are experiencing higher rates of COVID transmission. Many events may also include families with children who are unable to receive the vaccine, or those who may be at high-risk for severe illness or death.
On December 15, testing for Mega Events was required to be conducted within one day for antigen tests, and within two days for PCR tests prior to entry into the facility or venue.
Through this public health guidance, the threshold for Indoor Mega Events is lowered to 500 attendees and for Outdoor Mega Events to 5,000 attendees. Facilities and venues that are newly covered by this guidance must be in full compliance with this new requirement no later than January 15, 2022.
This new measure brings added layers of mitigation as the Omicron variant is increasingly detected across California, the United States, and the world and is likely to spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and potentially the Delta variant.
It is important that we continue to protect our communities by ensuring that all attendees have taken all required measures to protect themselves and those around them.
These restrictions and recommendations will continue to be updated as CDPH continues to assess conditions on an ongoing basis.
Definitions of Mega Events
Crowds greater than 500 (indoors) attendees
Crowds greater than 5,000 (outdoors) attendees
Indoor Mega Events
Outdoor Mega Events
In workplaces, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) or in some workplaces the CalOSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard, and should consult those regulations for additional applicable requirements.
Mega Events are characterized by large crowds greater than 500 indoor OR 5,000 outdoor attendees. Mega Events may have either assigned or unassigned seating, and may be either general admission or gated, ticketed, and permitted events. Mega Events do not include venues such as shopping malls or museums that are open to public circulation as part of their regular operations, except to the extent that such venues host qualifying events.
Mega Events are considered higher risk for COVID transmission because:
In addition to the general public health recommendations:
* Fully vaccinated
** Pre-entry negative testing
Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know
 These requirements continue to be recommended but not mandatory for places of worship meeting the definition of a mega event.
Originally Published on May 21, 2021