Activities, events, and gatherings
Yes. Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Before you travel, learn if COVID-19 is spreading in your local area or in any of the places you are going. Traveling to visit family may be especially dangerous if you or your loved ones are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19. People at higher risk for severe illness need to take extra precautions. For more considerations see Coronavirus in the United States—Considerations for Travelers.
As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Enjoy holiday activities and take steps to protect yourself and others from getting or spreading COVID-19.
- It is important to continue taking care of your health and wellness.
- Continue your medications, and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
- Continue to manage your disease the way your healthcare provider has told you.
- Have at least a 2-week supply of all prescription and non-prescription medications.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether your vaccinations are up-to-date.
- Call your healthcare provider
- if you have any concerns about your medical conditions, or if you get sick.
- to find out about different ways you can connect with your healthcare provider for chronic disease management or other conditions.
- Do not delay getting emergency care for your health problems or any health condition that requires immediate attention.
- If you need emergency help, call 911.
- Emergency departments have infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care for your medical condition.
- Continue to practice everyday prevention. Wash your hands often, avoid close contact, wear a mask, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces often.
For more information, see Groups at Higher Risk for Severe Illness.
If there is minimal or moderate spread of COVID-19 in the community, CDC recommends cancelling an:
- event that includes 250 people or more.
- event likely to have 10 or more people who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness. This includes older adults and people with underlying health problems such as lung or heart disease and diabetes.
If there is substantial spread of COVID-19 in the community, CDC recommends cancelling events of any size. See guidance for definitions of minimal, moderate, and substantial spread.
Consult with local public health officials and keep asking yourself, based on current conditions, whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees (if possible) at an event or gathering. When determining if you should postpone or cancel a large gathering or event, consider the:
- Overall number of attendees or crowd size.
- Number of attendees who are at higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19. This includes older adults and people with underlying health problems such as lung or heart disease and diabetes.
- How close together attendees will be at the event.
- Potential ways to minimize economic impact to attendees, staff, and the local community.
- Amount of spread in local community and the communities from where your attendees are likely to travel.
- Needs and capacity of the local community to host or participate in your event.
Creating an emergency plan for mass gatherings and large community events, such as concerts and sporting events, can help protect the health of your staff, attendees, and the local community. This planning should include:
- Encouraging staff and attendees to stay home if sick.
- Developing flexible refund policies for attendees.
- Providing supplies for attendees and staff that can be used to help prevent the spread of germs.
- Consulting local public health officials about your event.
CDC has guidance for cleaning and disinfecting rooms and areas where a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 has visited. See Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations.
If a staff member or attendee becomes sick at your event, separate them from others as soon as possible and until they can go home. Provide them with clean, disposable masks (PDF) to wear, if available. If not available, provide them with a tissue or some other way to cover their coughs and sneezes. If needed, contact emergency services for those who need emergency care. Public transportation, shared rides, and taxis should be avoided for sick persons.
Be sure to contact local public health officials regarding the possible case of COVID-19 at your event and communicate with staff and attendees about possible exposure to the virus. Read more about preventing the spread of COVID-19 if someone is sick.
Encourage staff and attendees to take everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. This includes:
- Cleaning your hands often.
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
Regular cleaning staff can clean and disinfect community spaces. Cleaning staff should be trained on appropriate use of cleaning and disinfection chemicals and provided with the personal protective equipment (PPE) required for the chemicals used.
There is currently no known risk associated with being in the same room at a funeral or visitation service with the body of someone who died of COVID-19.
Yes. Department of Veterans Affairs’ national cemeteries remain open but, for the safety of employees and visitors, we ask that visitors follow physical distancing and travel restrictions based on CDC and local health department guidelines.
Some cemetery areas may be closed to the public. You should contact the cemetery for more information.
Yes. Committal services are available at all national cemeteries. If holding a committal service, bear in mind that VA national cemeteries will continue adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the number of individuals attending committal services, practicing physical distancing between individuals not from the same household, ensuring all attendees and employees wear masks, encouraging frequent use of hand sanitizer and asking sick individuals to stay home. The number of permitted attendees will vary based on state and local guidelines.
Yes. To schedule an interment, contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117. VA national cemeteries remain open for interments of Veterans and eligible dependents. Families may request a direct interment or hold a committal service prior to interment.
If holding a committal service, bear in mind that VA national cemeteries will continue adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the number of individuals attending committal services, practicing physical distancing between individuals not from the same household, ensuring all attendees and employees wear masks, encouraging frequent use of hand sanitizer and asking sick individuals to stay home. The number of permitted attendees will vary based on state and local guidelines.
In healthcare settings all across the United States, donated blood is a lifesaving, essential part of caring for patients. The need for donated blood is constant, and blood centers are open and in urgent need of donations. CDC encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of COVID-19. CDC is supporting blood centers by providing recommendations that will keep donors and staff safe. Examples of these recommendations include spacing donor chairs 6 feet apart, thoroughly adhering to environmental cleaning practices, and encouraging donors to make donation appointments ahead of time.
There are steps you can take to help protect yourself, grocery store workers and other shoppers, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and using wipes on the handles of the shopping cart or basket. Read more tips in Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Information for Consumers.
In coordination with state and local health and safety guidelines, National Forests remain open however recreation services at our facilities may be changed, suspended or offered through alternate approaches as we manage for the health and safety of our work force and the public. Agency direction tasks local managers to perform risk assessments of our facilities and limit congregations of people and person to person interactions. Our decisions will align with local city, county and state actions to provide for human health and safety (i.e., quarantine, curfew, and other social restrictions).
Visitors to our National Forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We’re currently following CDC guidelines and limiting visitors for patients receiving care in a VA facility, including a medical center, clinic, nursing home, or Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders System of Care. Limiting outside visitors helps us protect older Veterans and those who already have health issues. An adult visitor may be allowed to assist a Veteran, if needed, to get to or from an appointment or procedure in the facility. We encourage you to contact your facility prior to your appointment with questions regarding their visitation policy. Exceptions may be made by facility if a Veteran patient or their visitor needs assistance.
We know limiting visitors is difficult for families, but we’re taking these precautions to protect the most vulnerable patients from community spread of the coronavirus.
Learn about the steps we’re taking to protect Veterans in nursing homes.
Visit the CDC website for more tips on stopping community spread.
Beginning June 4, 2020, certain USCIS field offices and asylum offices will resume non-emergency face-to-face services to the public. Application support centers will resume services later. USCIS has enacted precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in reopened facilities:
Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility if they:
Have any symptoms of COVID-19, including cough, fever or difficulty breathing;
Have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or
Have been individually directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days.
Visitors may not enter the facility more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies), and sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
Members of the public must wear masks that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities. If they do not have one, USCIS may provide one or the visitor will be asked to reschedule their appointment.
There will be markings and physical barriers in the facility; visitors should pay close attention to these signs to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.
Individuals may also have to answer health screening questions before entering a facility.
Individuals are encouraged to bring their own black or blue ink pens.
Going camping at a time when much of the United States is experiencing community spread of COVID-19 can pose a risk to you if you come in close contact with others or share public facilities (like restrooms or picnic areas) at campsites or along the trails. Exposure may be especially unsafe if you are more likely to get very ill from COVID-19 and are planning to be in remote areas, without easy access to medical care. Also be aware that many local, state, and national public parks have been temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Follow these actions when visiting a park.
No. The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. While school is out, children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households. If children are playing outside their own homes, it is essential that they remain 6 feet from anyone who is not in their own household.
Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as washing their hands often with soap and water. Remember, if children meet outside of school in groups, it can put everyone at risk.
For more information, see Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Children.
No. States and cities are responsible for announcing curfews, shelters in place, or other restrictions and safety measures.
President Trump has directed the Secretary of Defense to permit full federal reimbursement by FEMA for states’ use of their National Guard forces. The memorandum issued by the president provides governors continued command of their National Guard forces while being 100 percent federally funded under Title 32. This is in effect through August 21.
National Guard member responsibilities have included disinfecting public spaces, distributing food, assisting with transportation and logistical support of health officials and coordinating with state and local health and emergency managers. The use of the National Guard has enabled states to use the additional resources to meet the missions necessary in the whole-of-America COVID-19 response.