Guidance for outdoor events

Updated April 20, 2021.

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This guidance is for outdoor receptions, events, fairs, rodeos, non-critical auctions, concerts, outdoor markets, or other outdoor venues not covered in other guidances where these guidelines and adherence to physical distance can be maintained. This guidance does not apply to activities covered under guidelines for restaurants, places of worship, personal recreation, or outdoor recreation.

IF THERE IS A CONFIRMED CASE OF COVID-19 IN THE COMMUNITY

Venue

  • Capacity limits are determined by each county’s local restrictions. Consult your local public health agency for more information about local regulations.
  • Collect contact information for guests or attendees through ticket sales, reservations, RSVPs, or having sign-in sheets. Include times of arrival and departure, to help with potential exposure notification.
  • Provide generous and flexible cancellation policies so that if guests start experiencing symptoms, they can cancel.
  • Ensure 6 feet or more distance between all employees, customers, contractors and visitors.
  • Create a queue at entrances and exits that ensures a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance between individuals and pace entry and exit to prevent congestion.
  • Establish single-direction traffic flow in and out of venue and seating areas. Consider separate entrances and exits.
  • Consider staggered guest arrival and departure times to avoid congregating at entrances and exits.
  • Give reminders to observe at least 6 feet social distance before, during, and after events.
  • Provide signage, announcements, and other reminders that masks are highly recommended to reduce COVID transmission.
  • Seating at events must be appropriately spaced, to reduce mingling and reinforce the necessary distance between individuals in different households.
  • Enhance cleaning and sanitization of common touch points (doors, stairwell handles, light switches, elevator switches, etc.).
  • Catering services or food services should be seated-only. Food and drink services must follow the same guidelines as restaurants and bars.
  • Install hand sanitizing stations at entrances and in high-traffic areas.
  • Consider shorter event duration times or limited admission windows to reduce the need for patrons to use restroom facilities, which can be a source of transmission.
  • Install plexiglass barriers where appropriate.
  • Dancing is strictly limited at all events to no more than 10 people dancing together from the same party. Dancing parties must remain six feet from others. For wedding services, the following dances are expressly allowed: the couple’s first dance and the parent dances.
  • Booths or vendors at events must:
    • Allow spacing for vendor load-in and loadout such that vendors and staff can maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from each other as much as possible.
    • Add a minimum of 6 feet in between booths.
    • Create a single line of booths instead of double rows. If this is not possible, create at least a 16 feet thoroughfare between the two sides allowing for a single file, one-way path down the middle.  
    • Require vendors to have market booth layouts that promote social distancing. Provide them with the space to do this. 
    • Create one-way traffic flow through the booths to prevent crowding or mingling.
    • Use ropes, cones or tape to enforce distancing.

Vendors/employees

  • The venue operator for an event with multiple vendors and/or performers/competitors is responsible for ensuring all vendors/performance groups are aware of and adhering to COVID-19 policies and procedures.
  • Vendors should be familiar with the CDPHE Workplace Outbreak Guidance and apply all recommendations for prevention and mitigation that are outlined in that document to their operation.
  • Train employees in proper use of protective equipment, and emphasize that they should refrain from face-touching. Keep documentation of this training and make it available upon request of the local public health agency.
  • Require handwashing upon arrival, departure and frequently throughout the day. 
  • Implement symptom monitoring protocols (including workplace temperature monitoring and symptom screening questions where possible) (Additional Guidance) and encourage sick employees to use the CDPHE symptom support tool.
  • Employees who have been in close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 (generally within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, depending on level of exposure) should not report to work and should self-quarantine, unless they have been fully vaccinated.
  • Group employees into teams or shifts that stick together to limit mixing between different teams or shifts.
  • Provide contactless payment methods.
  • Do not allow multiple people to handle objects unless you can disinfect objects between each person.
  • Extend setup timelines to allow vendors more time to set up and not overlap.

Performers/competitors
  • Performances with vocal speech or singing, wind or brass instruments, or activities that cause heavy breathing should be 12 feet from patrons if the performer is wearing a mask (25 feet if unmasked).** Performances with no forced exhalation as in the prior examples, like a piano, harp, or organ player, should be a minimum of 6 feet from patrons, but 12 feet is preferred.
  • Participants (e.g., players, performers, actors, competitors, entertainers, etc.) in events must be checked for fevers, symptoms, and exposures before or at arrival. 
  • Participants (e.g., players, performers, actors) who have been in close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 should not participate and should self-quarantine, unless they have been fully vaccinated.
  • Where necessary, implement alternative placement of performers. If spacing is not possible, in some situations it may be suitable to install barriers to minimize transmission of aerosolized particles.
  • Maximize physical spacing between performers on-stage.
  • Recommend all employees to wear masks, unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.
  • Performers should use a separate entrance/exit than patrons where possible.
  • Performers are not included in capacity limits as long as they do not join the spectator/patron areas at any time and remain at least 12 feet  from attendees. If performers join the patron spaces, they must be included in the capacity limit numbers.
  • Disinfect high touch areas and equipment such as microphones, instruments, props, etc. between uses.

Hosts/attendees
  • Encourage attendees to stay home if sick or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Consider screening attendees for fever, symptoms, or exposures before or at their arrival.
  • Encourage attendees who have been in close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 (generally within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, depending on the level of exposure) to stay home and self-quarantine, unless they have been fully vaccinated. 
  • Encourage frequent handwashing.
  • Attendees should refrain from mixing and mingling with others not in their household during events as much as possible.
  • Attendees should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others as much as possible.
  • Attendees are recommended to wear masks unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health, in which case reasonable accommodations should be pursued to maintain the safety and health of all parties.
  • Populations at higher risk for severe COVID-19 should consider additional protections or staying home during this time per CDPHE guidance.
  • Encourage remote participation whenever possible.

*Venues that have multiple designated activities/events that are physically separated, such as a fair with activities taking place in separate buildings or arenas, may have the maximum capacity in each setting,and  must implement additional prevention measures, such as one-way traffic, as attendees move from one activity or event to the next. The designated activities must occur a minimum of 50 feet from each other, maintain separate entrances and exits, and must minimize the use of shared facilities like restrooms.

**Research and the CDC suggest that activities like singing may project respiratory droplets in greater quantity and over greater distance, increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission, particularly with prolonged exposure.

Frequently asked questions

Outdoor events are inherently different. Restaurants operating according to the guidelines are seated activities where people primarily sit in one place for the duration of their meal. In contrast, at an event like a fair, people are moving around, going from one place to another. As a result, the guidelines need to take this into consideration. While some aspects of events may be seated, other aspects involve people moving around.

Staff are required to ensure the successful implementation of these guidelines and the safety of participants. Therefore, staff do not contribute to the capacity limit. Performers, competitors, actors, entertainers, or players are not included in capacity limits as long as they do not join the spectator/patron areas at any time and keep  at least 12 feet of separation from spectators. If performers join the patron spaces, they must be included in the capacity limit numbers.

Parades may operate according to these guidelines; however, it is important to note that the physical distance and capacity limit requirements would apply to both people marching in the parades and spectators -- unless there is 12 feet in between people in the parade and spectators at all times. In that case, then those marching in the parade would not contribute to the capacity limits.
 
A parade could progress from one group of spectators to another, as long as each group was appropriately distanced -- at least 50 feet from each other. In addition, these groups would have to have clearly marked and distinct entrances and exits to prevent mingling and would have very limited shared facilities (concessions, restrooms, etc).

Fairs may operate according to these guidelines. Fairs may host  attractions, educational displays, 4H/4FA events, vendors, and arts and crafts as long as these events are “no-touch”. All activities should conform to these guidelines.

Exhibitors should wear a mask up until the time they compete. Masks can be removed prior to entering the arena or event area and be put back on after the event. Please use the calculator to determine how many people may warm up in an event space like a ring at any given point in time. This distance should be observed at all times, except in cases of safety for participants, spectators, or animals.

All food and beverage service at fairs must follow the restaurants and bars guidelines

Vendors may offer samples or allow people to try products only if they can be done in a “no-touch” way. For example, a food sample can be given out with a toothpick that is only touched by one patron then discarded.

Fairs that have multiple designated activities/events that are physically separated, such as a fair with activities taking place in separate buildings or arenas, may have the maximum capacity in each setting and must implement additional prevention measures, such as one-way traffic, as attendees move from one activity or event to the next. The designated activities must occur a minimum of 50 feet from each other, maintain separate entrances and exits, and must minimize the use of shared facilities like restrooms. Additional precautions must be taken in any areas where people may transition from one event area to another to ensure people can maintain at least 6 feet of distance at all times and do not mingle or gather.

Yes; however, all vendors must abide by these guidelines, including regular symptom monitoring. 

Rodeos may operate so long as they adhere to these guidelines. If competitors and support staff stay fully separate (waiting/practice areas, competition areas), then they do not count towards the total capacity. However, if competitors and support staff enter the spectator area, then they do count towards the total. 

Competitors should wear a mask up until the time they compete. Masks can be removed prior to entering the arena or event area, but must be put back on after the event. Please use the calculator to determine how many people may warm up in an event space like a ring at any given point in time. This distance should be observed at all times, except in cases of safety for participants, spectators, or animals.

Rodeos that have multiple designated activities/events that are physically separated, such as a competition taking place in separate buildings or arenas, may have the maximum capacity in each setting and must implement additional prevention measures, such as one-way traffic, as attendees move from one activity or event to the next. The designated activities must occur a minimum of 50 feet from each other, maintain separate entrances and exits, and must minimize the use of shared facilities like restrooms. Additional precautions must be taken in any areas where people may transition from one event area to another to ensure that people can maintain at least 6 feet of distance at all times and do not mingle or gather.

Please review guidance from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, which may have more detailed best practices on how to implement distancing guidelines. 

No. This guidance is not applicable to personal recreation.  Recreational activities are substantially different than outdoor events. The virus can be propelled by the heavy breathing that often occurs while exercising. Gyms must still follow the personal recreation guidance.

Outdoor markets may use this guidance to set up their markets, and have different designated areas of activity. Individuals retailers within outdoor markets must follow retail guidance.

Yes, arcade games are permitted at both indoor and outdoor events when following the best practices described in the indoor and outdoor events guidance. 

  • Indoor arcades themselves may follow the same guidance as indoor unseated events.

  • Arcades with food service should follow restaurant guidance for designated dining areas. 

    • Dining areas and activities should be separated from gaming areas as much as possible. 

  • Disinfect high-touch areas and equipment such as: gaming machines and equipment, microphones, instruments, props, etc. between uses.

  • Limit gaming group size to no more than 4 people and maintain at least 6 feet distancing between groups.

  • Lower or turn off volume on games to reduce the need to speak loudly as forced exhalation increases the risk of transmission