As businesses reopen and more and more employees become fully vaccinated, many companies are asking an important question: When can we gather together in large groups to attend conferences, retreats, and the like?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), fully vaccinated individuals need not get tested before or after travel within the United States or self-quarantine after travel, making travel to events far more convenient. Likewise, the CDC’s current position is that fully vaccinated individuals can return to normal activities, such as attending large gatherings. That said, there are still important factors to consider before planning a large function.
First, the CDC guidance mentioned above applies only to fully vaccinated individuals. Employees who are not fully vaccinated are currently required to socially distance and wear masks at indoor gatherings. The CDC further urges unvaccinated people to avoid travel and requires unvaccinated people who must travel to get tested and quarantine, among other protective measures. This poses potential problems for companies with unvaccinated employees, particularly where employees refuse vaccines based on religious or disability-related objections, as these employees might claim unequal treatment. A potential resolution to this issue could include planning events locally so that no travel is required unless all employees are vaccinated.
Second, some states have strict rules in place related to large events. For example, while California intends to reopen on June 15, 2021, there are exceptions for “Mega Events,” defined as gatherings with greater than 5,000 attendees (indoors) and greater than 10,000 attendees (outdoors). These rules include requiring verification of fully vaccinated status or preentry negative test results for all attendees along with face-covering mandates.
In sum, despite the fact that we are seeing reopenings and vaccinations, it is important to plan carefully and review all state and local guidelines before planning large corporate events.