Effective immediately, and for at least the next 14 days, Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman is recommending and encouraging the cancellation or postponement of any large social gatherings or events in Orange County. The purpose of this action is to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep communities and residents healthy. As this recommendation is being issued, there are no cases of COVID-19 in Orange County known to exist by the Orange County Health Department.

As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly encourages event organizers and staff to prepare for the possibility of outbreaks in communities. Postponing and canceling mass gatherings and large community events can help protect you, the health of your event participants and the local community. With larger outbreaks in surrounding counties and confirmed community transmission in Ulster and Rockland counties, multiple cases in Nassau and New York City, as well as the larger scale outbreak in Westchester County, limiting large social events at this time is important to maintaining public health.

Examples of these gatherings include planned or spontaneous events with many people in attendance such as concerts, festivals, conferences, worship services, and sporting events. Additionally, it is highly advised that senior centers discontinue activities until further notice as COVID-19 has been disproportionality affecting individuals over the age of 60 with pre-existing medical conditions.

The CDC has developed recommended actions for preventing the spread of COVID-19 at mass gatherings and large community events. The BeforeDuring, and After sections of this guidance offer suggested strategies to help you plan for and implement these recommendations: CDC Community Event Planning. This interim guidance is intended for organizers and staff responsible for planning public events, mass gatherings or large community events in Orange County.

“The Orange County Health Department will continuously monitor the new cases in the region with the hope of being able to reduce this recommendation if we see cases dropping,” Gelman said. “The nature of the virus has demonstrated internationally that as community spread is limited, cases reduce.  Accordingly, by taking strong actions now, it is our hope to be able to weather this challenge effectively, efficiently and safely.”

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