New State Guidelines Limit Private Gatherings to Three Households


State health officials have released new guidelines that increase the limit on the number of households allowed to attend private outdoor gatherings.

According to the California Department of Public Health website, the new guidelines, which went into effect Saturday, allow up to three households to gather outdoors, including hosts and guests, and gatherings should be kept to two hours or less.

"Gatherings may occur in outdoor spaces that are covered by umbrellas, canopies, awnings, roofs, and other shade structures provided that at least three sides of the space (or 75%) are open to the outdoors," state health officials said. If the gathering is taking place at someone’s home, guests may use a bathroom inside the residence as long as they are frequently sanitized.

The new guidance comes with a reminder that "people at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 (such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions) are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings."

"Anyone with COVID-19-like symptoms should stay home. If you attend a gathering and develop COVID-19 symptoms within 48 hours of a gathering, you should notify everyone who was there," state health officials said.

Attendees need to continue following safety guidance including keeping at least six feet apart from non-household members and wear face coverings. "The host should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later," state health officials said.

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