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University offers guidance on gatherings with food or drink

Now and in the coming months, many University departments, programs, or other non-student organizations may host gatherings where there is food or drink. Indoor gatherings with food that are informal (ex. eating your lunch with your co-workers) or formal (ex. a catered or non-catered department meeting or reception) should follow the following University health and safety guidelines.

Note, as everyone continues to work their way through this pandemic, the University advises departments to carefully consider whether to have in-person holiday functions with food or drink, but those that do proceed should follow these guidelines:

  • All attendees, including visitors, at indoor gatherings shall be masked and remain masked up to the point of eating or drinking. Attendees may only remove their masks when they are seated with food or drink, or if they are standing at a bar height/high top table. Attendees at tables must not overcrowd the eating space and must be actively eating when masks are removed, ideally for 15 minutes or less.
  • Events shall be limited to the seating capacity of the room.
  • If attendees move from one location to any other location within the gathering, with or without food or drink, they must wear their mask.
  • For reception-style events, it is a best practice to have the food at the end of the meeting/celebration and have it optional for people to take back to their work area.
  • Another best practice is that events with food be held outdoors or under tents—whenever possible and as weather permits—and that social distancing be practiced when feasible.
  • For University-sponsored events hosted at an off-campus establishment, the COVID-19 protocols for that venue should be followed.
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