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Announcement Regarding Mass Gatherings and Community Events

Posted 6/22/2020 by krauter-egge@co.wood.wi.us



CONTACT: Susan Kunferman, Wood County Health Department Director/Health Officer

(715) 421-8911

Announcement Regarding Mass Gatherings and Community Events

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – Over the past few months the Wood County Health Department has received numerous phone calls and emails for advice as to whether event organizers should go forward with their public gatherings, such as parades, fairs, festivals, flea markets, and other events typically held throughout the summer and early fall in Wood County. The Wood County Health Department is required to investigate health problems and health hazards in the community and inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.

Currently, there are no state or local orders that prohibit large public gatherings. However, the Wood County Health Department advises against large gatherings due to the COVID -19 pandemic and has confidence that event organizers will act in the best interest of the community and potential event attendees. Postponing an event to 2021 would be viewed as a reasonable and appropriate decision.

Large gatherings of people in sustained, close contact greatly increase the risk for spread of the COVID-19 virus, and these gatherings are especially challenging to meet the physical distancing and other prevention recommendations required to slow the spread of disease. Other higher risk gatherings include contact-type sporting events, graduation parties, weddings, and other types of larger private and public functions that encourage close contact and travel to/from an individual’s home community.

If a large gathering is under consideration by your group or entity, please proceed with caution. In lieu of in-person events or gatherings, find creative ways to host non-contact events or host events virtually that can build the same sense of community and celebration. 

If gatherings do take place, organizers should require physical distancing. Face coverings should be recommended as feasible. Organizers should opt for outdoor venues and limit the number of people to 25% of capacity of a tent or pavilion. Food should be pre-plated individual servings, no buffet lines or self-serve options. Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and bathrooms should be cleaned and sanitized before, during, and after events. 

Wood County has data available online including cases by sex, age, ethnicity, municipality, tests by day and cumulative positive tests by day. The dashboard is available on the Wood County website at this link. A set of metrics has been developed and will be used to provide local phased guidance for continued reopening recommendations. 

Please contact the Wood County Health Department at 715-421-8911 if further guidance is needed.