The CDC issued guidance Sunday evening that “large events and mass gatherings” of 50 or more people should be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Such events include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies that are planned “not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals,” said the CDC.
It noted that the recommendation doesn’t apply to “day to day operations of organizations,” such as schools and colleges and universities or business though many have been canceling in-person operations in favor of online classes and working from home, respectively.
The CDC said events “should only be continued if they can be carried out with adherence to guidelines for protecting vulnerable populations, hand hygiene and social distancing.” Vulnerable populations include seniors and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart or lung disease and diabetes and social distancing refers to person-to-person contact six feet apart. The CDC recommends that organizers modify in-person events to virtual events whenever feasible.
“The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus,” which can be spread person-to-person primarily through close contact and respiratory droplets coming from an infected person when they cough or sneeze, according to the CDC website.
Also on Sunday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called for all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs to close and all adults 65 or older to remain in their homes. Restaurants were told to operate at half capacity.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered restaurants, theaters, bars and movie houses closed in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. New York City will allow only takeout and delivery, starting Tuesday.
The New York mayor also ordered New York City public school system, the largest in the country to with 1.1 million students, to shut down this week. Los Angeles school system, the second largest in the U.S. will begin to shut down on Monday for at least two weeks.
To date, close to 163,000 people have been infected by COVID-19 worldwide and over 6,000 have died, about half in China.
The U.S. has about 3,400 cases and 66 deaths but the number of cases is expected to grow as more people get tested, which has been limited due to a lack of available tests.