Due to the rapid spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, the immediate and primary call to action continues to be for eligible Californians to get vaccinated. A secondary call to action is for all Californians to comply with updated indoor masking recommendations to help prevent COVID-19 transmission and 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. CDPH has updated the Guidance for Mega Events to provide recommendations to prevent the spread in large events and gatherings. Below are additional frequently asked questions and responses related to Mega Events.
Questions & Answers
What is a Mega Event?
Mega Events are planned public or social occasions that include over 1,000 participants or spectators indoors and over 10,000 outdoors. Mega Events may have either assigned or unassigned seating, and may be either general admission or gated, ticketed and permitted events. Mega Events are also characterized by large crowds where participants and spectators may be talking loudly, chanting, cheering, or yelling. Mega Events may draw from beyond the nearby community and will often draw attendees and participants from other states and countries. From a public health consideration, Mega Events are higher-risk settings for transmitting COVID-19.
Mega Events include conventions, shows, nightclubs, concerts, sporting events, theme parks, fairs, festivals, large races, and parades when attended by more than 1,000 participants or spectators indoors, or more than 10,000 participants or spectators outdoors.
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.
Guidance for Mega Events does not apply to school events that are not open to the general public.
When do these new requirements or recommendations take effect and how long will they remain in effect?
The updated general public health requirements and recommendations become effective September 20, 2021, and will remain in place until November 1, 2021.
Why is CDPH updating its Mega Events guidance at this time?
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 variant in California, is highly transmissible and may cause more severe illness. 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, according to a recent study. California is currently experiencing the fastest increase in COVID-19 cases during the entire pandemic with 23.8 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 substantial and severe outbreaks.
What makes Mega Events so much riskier than other events or venues?
Large events and gatherings involve several factors that increase the risk of transmission including:
persons attending often travel from outside the immediate area, and some types of travel may increase the risk of exposure;
events have prolonged duration;
persons attending are often in close contact;
most counties do require universal masking in indoor public settings, and masks are removed for eating and drinking; and
the larger the number of people gathered, the greater the likelihood that contagious persons are present.
What if I've already sold tickets for an event occurring after October 1, 2021 (when the prior guidance was set to expire)?
The state is providing these updates at this time to ensure businesses, event and venue operators have sufficient time to notify their customers of the new entry requirements.
Can Californians resume non-essential travel out of state? Internationally?
Californians should follow CDC travel recommendations.
What is the definition of "fully vaccinated"?
See current CDPH Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Persons for definitions, acceptable vaccines, and updates on additional vaccines as they are approved.
Can venue operators use self-attestation to confirm that an attendee meets either the negative tested or fully vaccinated status requirement.
No, self-attestation may not be used to verify status as fully vaccinated or as proof of negative test result for indoor settings. Vaccine verification is required for Indoor Mega Events and recommended for Outdoor Mega Events. See current Options for Providing Proof of Vaccination in the CDPH Vaccine Records Guidelines & Standards for acceptable methods of vaccine verification.
Are children who are not eligible for a vaccine still required to follow the testing requirements of Indoor Mega Events?
Yes, children and those who are unable to receive a vaccine are still required to produce a negative test.
What about customers who purchase tickets for a group? Will they have to provide vaccine verification for the entire group?
Yes, any customer purchasing tickets for a group will be required to provide proof that all parties in their group will meet the negative tested or fully vaccinated requirements for Indoor Mega Events. For Indoor and Outdoor Mega Events, all attendees must follow current CDPH Guidance for Face Coverings.
Are there any consequences for falsification of vaccine status or testing results in order to attend an indoor event with over 1,000 attendees?
Vaccination record cards are intended to provide recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine with information about the type of vaccine they received, and when they may be able to receive a second dose of the vaccine. By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, the unauthorized use of an official government agency's seal (such as HHS or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) is a crime and may be punishable under Title 18 United States Code, Section 1017, and other applicable laws.
Is the event owner required to conduct contact tracing if it is found that people at the event were positive for COVID-19?
No, but event operators should cooperate and work closely with their local health departments to assist in any contact tracing efforts. Additionally, employers are subject to the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), if applicable to them, which requires that employees be notified of an exposure.
Does that event owner have to retain a record of the participants' COVID-19 vaccination status or negative test result?
The requirements for Mega Events continue to be recommended but not mandatory for places of worship meeting the definition of a Mega Event.
CDC - Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science