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EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor

State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health


August 18, 2021


TO:
All Californians

SUBJECT:
Beyond the Blueprint for Industry and Business Sectors



Updates as of August 18, 2021:

  • Applied vaccine verification or negative testing requirement to Indoor Mega Events involving 1,000 or more participants.
  • Removed self-attestation as a mode for both vaccine verification and for verification of negative COVID-19 test for indoor events scheduled after September 20, 2021.
  • Extended date for requirements and recommendations to remain in place to November 1, 2021.

Background:

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 returned to usual operations (with the limited exceptions noted below for Mega Events).

California has made great strides in vaccinating its residents, with more than 75 percent of those eligible at least partially vaccinated. Although vaccinations provide a powerful protection against COVID-19 hospitalization and death, the Delta variant, which is currently the most common strain of COVID-19 in California, is highly transmissible and may cause more severe illness.[1] In fact, recent data suggests that viral load is roughly 1,000 times higher in people infected with the Delta variant than those infected with the original coronavirus strain.  California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic with 25.7 new cases per 100,000 people per day, with case rates increasing eleven-fold within two months.  Given the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, additional precautionary measures must be taken in large, indoor events, which have the potential to cause large, substantial, and severe outbreaks. 

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.

Indoor settings are especially high risk for transmission. While universal masking reduces the spread of infectious droplets and aerosols, masks are often removed for eating and drinking. Activities like singing, yelling, or cheering increase transmission risk, even when masks are being worn.

The immediate and primary call to action continues to be for eligible Californians to get vaccinated. A secondary call to action is for all unvaccinated Californians to comply with indoor masking requirements and for all Californians to consider their personal choices around harm reduction and risk tolerance in the face of the Delta variant and the likelihood of additional variants emerging in the future. 

Additionally, a key method to reduce transmission in large gatherings is to expand the number of events that require attendees to be verified fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 or verified tested negative, both indoors and outdoors.

CDPH is therefore updating the general public health requirements and recommendations as follows, effective September 20, 2021. These updated measures will remain in place until November 1, 2021:

  Restrictions Applying to Indoor & Outdoor Settings
UPDATE:
Definitions of Mega Events

Crowds greater than 1,000 (indoors) attendees

Crowds greater than 10,000 (outdoors) attendees

 

UPDATE:
Vaccine Verification / Negative Testing

Required for Indoor Mega Events

Recommended for Outdoor Mega Events

Self-attestation may not be used to verify status as fully vaccinated or as proof of negative test result for indoor settings. For outdoor settings, it is recommended not to use self-attestation to verify status as fully vaccinated or as proof of negative test result.

Capacity LimitationsNo restrictions
Physical DistancingNo restrictions for attendees, customers, and guests
MaskingFollow current CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings
Travelers
Recommend following CDC recommendations.

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.

Limited Requirements for Mega Events:

Mega Events are characterized by large crowds greater than 1,000 indoor OR 10,000 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:

  • Participants and attendees are spending extensive periods of time physically close to large numbers of people they don't usually interact with.

  • The frequency and total duration of close contact between attendees is increased, thereby increasing the risk that respiratory particles will be transmitted between attendees and participants.

  • They draw from beyond the nearby community and will often draw attendees and participants from other states and countries who may be infected with more infectious COVID variants.

  • Effective contact tracing may be difficult given the number of potential uncontrolled mixing between groups and attendees among individuals who are unlikely to be together again and the nature of the events.

For Indoor Mega Events (example: conventions/conferences/expos/sporting events and concerts[2]):

In addition to the general public health recommendations:

  • Verification of fully vaccinated status* or pre-entry negative test** result is required of all attendees.

    • Indoor venue and event operators may not use self-attestation as a mode of verification.

  • Information will be prominently placed on all communications, including the reservation and ticketing systems, to ensure guests are aware of testing and vaccination requirements (including acceptable modes of verification).

  • Attendees must follow CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings.

  • Venues should make masks available to attendees upon request.

For Outdoor Mega Events (example: music or food festivals/car shows/large endurance events and marathons/parades/sporting events and concerts):

In addition to the general public health recommendations:

  • Verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative test result is strongly recommended for all attendees.

    • If implemented, venue and event operators are recommended to not use self-attestation as a mode of verification but rather use verification options for providing proof of vaccination in the CDPH Vaccine Record Guidelines & Standards.

  • Attendees must follow CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings.

  • Information will be prominently placed on all communications, including the reservation and ticketing systems, to ensure guests are aware that the State strongly recommends that they be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending the event.

  • Venues should make masks available to attendees upon request.

Additional recommendations for sponsors of Mega Events:

  • Encourage everyone to get vaccinated when eligible.

  • Facilitate increased ventilation of indoor spaces (i.e., open all windows and doors to increase natural air flow), following current CDPH and CalOSHA guidance.

  • Encourage everyone to sign up for CA Notify as an added layer of protection for themselves and the community to receive alerts when they have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

  • Convey the risk of attending large, crowded events where the vaccine status of others in attendance may be unknown to the individuals. 

  • Convey the risk of attending large, crowded events for populations that may not currently be eligible for vaccination or may be immunocompromised and whose vaccine protection may be incomplete.

  • Encourage all venues along any parade or event route to provide outdoor spaces for eating/drinking/congregating to reduce the risk of transmission in indoor settings.

The requirements and recommendations for negative testing / vaccine verification will be in place effective September 20, 2021 through November 1, 2021. The state will assess conditions by October 15, 2021, to determine whether updated requirements or recommendations are needed beyond November 1, 2021.


[1] CDC - Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science

[2] These requirements continue to be recommended but not mandatory for places of worship meeting the definition of a mega event.

* Fully vaccinated

  1. Definition: See current CDPH Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Persons for definitions, acceptable vaccines, and updates on additional vaccines as they are approved. 
  2. Verification: See current Options for Providing Proof of Vaccination in the CDPH Vaccine Record Guidelines & Standards for acceptable methods of vaccine verification.

 ** Pre-entry negative testing

  1. Definition: Testing must be conducted within 72 hours before event start time (both PCR and antigen are acceptable). Results of the test must be available prior to entry into the event or venue.
  2. Verification: See current CDPH Updated Testing Guidance for acceptable methods of proof of negative COVID-19 test result. 



Originally Published on May 21, 2021