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Press Release

Safe Social Gatherings Recommended to Maintain Orange Tier Status


Thursday, October 29, 2020


Small gatherings or outdoor and virtual gatherings can help prevent a surge

On Tuesday, the State of California announced that Contra Costa County could move into the Orange tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Health officials are amending the county social distancing order to align with the state guidance for that tier, which allows gatherings of up to 25 people and three households.

At the same time, health officials are advising caution because of the potential for a surge of cases in the coming weeks that could move the county back into a more restrictive tier.

“Gatherings where people from multiple households are together for a prolonged period of time, especially indoors, and settings where people remove their masks to eat and drink, pose a high risk for spreading COVID-19,” said County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano.

The safest option, Dr. Farnitano said, is to connect with loved ones virtually through Zoom or other online platforms.

Health officials are offering the following safety tips for in-person gatherings:

  • Outdoors is safer than indoors: During the colder months, gathering outside will be more challenging. Dr. Farnitano suggests that people plan to dress warmly or purchase outdoor space heaters so events can be held outside comfortably.
  • Try not to mix with too many other households: Participating in gatherings with different households or groups increases your risk of coming into contact with someone who has COVID.
  • Keep it short: Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.
  • Wear face coverings: This is especially important when coming into contact with people from another household – even if they’re family relatives. People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.
  • Don’t attend a gathering if you feel sick

“Since there is no vaccine or cure for COVID, people need to continue to practice physical distancing, washing their hands regularly and wearing face coverings when around people they don’t live with,” Dr. Farnitano said.

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