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Tehachapi Valley Recreation & Park District

Late last night, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the California Department of Public Health had updated its guidance policy on gatherings to protect public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. This announcement follows the release of a new “Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission” by the CDC.

While the CDC’s mitigation strategies attempt to give guidance based upon community factors including the level of transmission and healthcare capacity, the CDPH’s announcement is more broad and included the following findings:

• Large gatherings that include 250 people or more should be postponed or canceled

• Small gatherings held in venues that do not allow social distancing of six feet per person should be postponed or canceled

• Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people

The CDPH guidance goes on to define a “gathering” as any event or convening that brings together people in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, cafeteria, or any other indoor or outdoor space. Importantly, these findings are said to apply to all non-essential professional, social, and community gatherings regardless of their sponsor. Finally, this guidance is to remain in place at least through the month of March.

The CDC guidance echoes the call for cancelling large gatherings of 250 or more, but only in those communities with minimal to moderate risk of transmission. It further recommends canceling gatherings of 10 or more for organizations that serve high-risk populations.