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Guidance for Outdoor Gatherings During COVID-19

Benches in a grove of trees

These recommendations were developed by our Safer Congregations Team on June 19, 2020 in response to questions from congregations. Please use them in conjunction with our full UUA guidance for gathering during COVID-19.

Data show that the risks of transmission of COVID-19 are lower in outdoor settings. However, experts advise that facial coverings, physical distancing, and limits on singing still be in place. If you are considering holding an outdoor gathering of two or more people, we urge you to establish plans and guidelines to keep our most vulnerable participants safer from the possibility of COVID transmission. Such plans would include:

  • No communal singing

  • No food service

  • Bathrooms that are frequently cleaned and well-ventilated, with marks on the hallway floor for socially-distanced waiting

  • Masks and facial coverings

  • Adequate hand-washing and hand sanitization supplies

  • Inclusive and accessible spaces for sitting (lawns are often not accessible to wheelchair and walker users)

  • Methods for including people who are hard of hearing and/or visually-impaired, especially given the obstacles of distance and masks. Can your sound system work outdoors? If you are livestreaming your event, you could offer the ability for in-person participants to use tablets and smartphones to access sound and visuals.

  • Attentiveness to the safety of the building (if entrances are open yet no one is inside)

  • Clarity from leadership about the inclusion or exclusion of small children and others who might find it hard to observe physical distancing

  • Consideration of neighbors with efforts to minimize noise pollution

  • An update to your existing safety and security plans for the different risks involved in an outdoor gathering

The UU Church of Boulder, Colorado created policy and practices for outdoor gatherings, which we share in our UUA Leadership Library as a resource.

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Please read our full COVID-19 recommendations and questions for consideration on the page UUA Guidance for Gathering In-Person When COVID-19 Subsides

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Explore the UUA's growing collection of congregational resources for the COVID-19 pandemic.