1. Policy Statement
While the university encourages organizers of events and gatherings to continue the pursuit of alternative virtual modes of participation as their primary method of conducting such activities, effective July 1, 2020, indoor and outdoor in-person events and gatherings at all University-owned, -occupied, or -controlled lands and buildings (“University Properties”) located within the state of Florida will be allowed to resume on a gradual, controlled, and phased approach. Approval from the applicable oversight office is required prior to the event or gathering taking place. Approval of requests for in-person events and gatherings will depend upon local public health conditions, the university’s capacity to effectively or successfully execute safety and security protocols, and the availability of university space. Employees and students must be cleared to be on campus through the UF Health COVID-19 screening site (found on the ONE.UF portal) in order to attend an in-person event or gathering at University Properties.
This policy applies to:
• All in-person events and gatherings at University Properties including, without limitation, campus visitors, volunteers, vendors and those staffing the event or gathering and
• UF-hosted and -sponsored in-person events and gatherings held at non-University Properties.
UF/IFAS off campus meeting spaces considered University Properties will follow the same policy restrictions and requirements.
UF/IFAS Extension activities held at county-owned properties should consult with county management about the use of the property and related protocols.
Non-UF persons, groups, and organizations utilizing University Properties for in-person events and gatherings must accept responsibility for complying with this policy and shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the University from any and all claims or liabilities the University may incur related to the non-compliance by non-UF persons, groups, and organizations.
This policy is not intended to address instructional activities, University Athletic Association team practices and competitions, or RecSports programming and activities. Ancillary events and gatherings held in spaces controlled by the University Athletics Association or RecSports are to follow this policy.
Event request/approval processes must be observed for all campus events and gatherings (see section 5), except for the following situations:
• Routine school, college, or administrative department in-person meetings and activities are not subject to the campus event request/approval processes. The department is responsible for complying will all other aspects of this policy.
• Barring other transcending rules or policies (e.g., event request process for registered student organizations or events requiring a risk review), in-person events and gatherings of 15 participants or less are not subject to the campus event request/approval processes but must comply with all other aspects of this policy.
While planning your in-person events and gatherings, please consider the following prior to submitting your campus event and permit requests:
• At this time, UF expects to return to normal operations at the beginning of the 2021 Fall Semester while the face coverings requirement when indoors is expected to carry through the 2021 Fall Semester, possibly beyond. This policy will be revised as soon as the final decision on a return to normal operations is made. In the interim, if you need guidance or an approval of an in-person event or gathering for the 2021 Fall Semester, please follow the campus event and request process outlined in this policy.
• It is anticipated that some policy restrictions or requirements will be relaxed beginning in 2021 Summer B. For example, the physical distancing requirement may be reduced or eliminated. Again, this policy will be revised as soon as this information is available.
• The recent three feet physical distancing announcement only applies to UAA events at outdoor venues.
• Adult (18 and older) day and overnight conferences can be planned but the six feet physical distancing requirement is still in place.
• Overnight youth programs and camps (K through Grade 12) are prohibited at University Properties this summer.
• Requests for youth day camps and programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the COVID-19 safety plan for that activity and the anticipated levels of COVID-19 transmission in the community at the time the activity is scheduled to occur. For more guidance on youth programs and camps please visit the CDC Readiness and Planning Tool for Youth Programs and Camps: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/camp-planning-tool.pdf. Youth programs and camps require approvals from the UF Youth Compliance Services (https://youth.compliance.ufl.edu/) and UF Health/Screen, Test & Protect. Such approvals are coordinated through the campus event and permit request process outlined in this policy.
- Requests for youth day programs and camps as well as adult day and overnight conferences at UF/IFAS-controlled or -occupied facilities on- and off-campus require UF/IFAS administrative approval, in addition to UF Youth Compliance Services’ approval for youth activities. The approvals will be made by the local UF/IFAS leadership, with further approvals up to the relevant UF/IFAS Dean. For such events at county-owned facilities, the county and UF/IFAS must both agree to host the requested event.
• Campus event requests with QuaranTeams are possible. Such approvals are coordinated through the campus event and permit request process outlined in this policy. QuaranTeams are groups of individuals who choose to socialize together and follow mutually agreed upon set of rules or guidelines during the pandemic. For more information and guidance on QuaranTeams, please visit: (https://gatorwell.ufsa.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/FindingYourQuaranTeam.pdf).
• COVID-19 safety plans are designed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission and all efforts are made to anticipate what the levels of COVID-19 transmission will be in the community at the time the in-person event is scheduled to occur. However, given the changing nature of the pandemic there is no guarantee that COVID-19 transmission will not increase to levels that would make it unsafe to go forward with an approved event or gathering. Campus event requests are approved with the caveat that UF Health/Screen, Test & Protect may revoke approval and recommend cancellation of the event if it is deemed to be higher than acceptable risk due to changing COVID-19 conditions.
• Indoor in-person events and gatherings generally pose a higher risk than outdoor in-person events and gatherings. Setting lower limits on attendees and choosing a well-ventilated venue for indoor in-person events and gatherings will increase the likelihood of an approval. See the chart depicting low, medium, and high-risk events and gatherings: (https://businessaffairs.ufl.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Events-and-Gatherings-Chart-Guidance.pdf).
• Larger indoor venues such as museums and galleries, where there is a low occupant density and frequent occupant movement, are believed to pose a lower risk of transmission compared to smaller indoor venues.
• While outdoor events and gatherings pose a lower risk for the spread of coronavirus infections, they do raise severe weather and crowd management risks.
• Adding food and/or drinks to an in-person event or gathering is likely to pose a higher risk of transmission due to the removal of face coverings while eating and drinking. Please consult the following link if you are considering such services:
• Effective and enforceable modifications to in-person events and gatherings are likely to increase the odds of obtaining an approval, especially when seeking an exception to a policy restriction or requirement, some examples include:
- Outdoor events where clear physical distancing markings can be made;
- Events with low occupant density in relation to the available open space with frequent occupant movement; and
- Events where safe distances between performers and audience can be maintained along with the use of physical barriers and instrumental masks, where appropriate.
4. Restrictions and Requirements: In-person Events and Gatherings
The following restrictions and requirements apply to in-person events and gatherings:
• Face coverings must always be worn in University-owned, -occupied, or -controlled buildings and at outdoor events or gatherings held on University-owned, -occupied, or -controlled lands by all people age 2 and older.
• Physical distancing (a minimum of six feet) must be observed at all indoor and outdoor events and gatherings with special attention given to ingress/egress of the venue as well as general queuing and ticketing logistics.
• The maximum attendance for indoor events and gatherings of 50 persons will continue through the end of 2021 Summer A, possibly beyond. This includes large meeting and function spaces. Depending on the venue layout and space available to ensure the minimum prescribed physical distancing requirement, the maximum attendance could be less than 50 persons. Additionally, venue managers have the latitude to set lower maximum attendance capacities for their venues.
- Campus museums, performing arts venues, theatres, auditoriums, galleries, and other large indoor venues may operate at up to 50% of building capacity while complying with the face covering and minimum prescribed physical distancing requirements. Depending on the venue layout and space available to ensure the minimum prescribed physical distancing requirement, the maximum attendance could be less than 50% of building capacity. Additionally, venue managers have the latitude to set lower maximum attendance capacities for their venues.
• The maximum attendance for outdoor events and gatherings of 250 persons will continue through the end of 2021 Summer A, possibly beyond. Venue managers have the latitude to set lower maximum capacities for their venues.
- Requests to exceed the 250 persons maximum for outdoor events and gatherings will be considered provided that effective and enforceable modifications are added (communicated through the campus event and permit request process) and are approved by UF Health/Screen, Test & Protect.
• Organizers of events or venue managers must produce a roster with contact information for each event attendee and maintain such information for a minimum of one month after the date of the event. This does not apply to campus visitors entering public facilities such as museums and galleries.
• Any person on University Properties – whether a faculty member, a staff member, student, volunteer, vendor, or visitor – is expected to adhere to these policies.
• Where possible, technology options such as web conferencing including video meetings and webinars, or live streaming events, should be an option to those invited, but reluctant to attend the event or gathering in person.
• UF-hosted and -sponsored in-person events and gatherings must provide appropriate accommodations and alternative options for those who have a disability and cannot attend in person (or follow the policies of in-person attendance) because of that disability.
• Communications advertising the event must include a statement encouraging those individuals at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (including older adults and people of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions) to avoid such events and gatherings at this time and when available, direct them to virtual participation options.
• On-site event signage must include university-approved print communications addressing mandatory face coverings and physical distancing in prominent locations.
• Food and beverage service must comply with the restrictions and requirements established by Business Services (https://www.bsd.ufl.edu/catering).
• Classroom spaces are to be used only for classroom uses and co-curricular activities approved by a College Dean. Non-class uses of classroom spaces are suspended until further notice. Scheduling of future non-academic use requests is also postponed until further notice.
5. Campus Event and Permit Requests and COVID-19 Safety Plans
COVID-19 Safety Plans
Organizers of in-person events and gatherings are required to submit COVID-19 safety plans. For event and permit requests submitted through the GatorConnect Event Permitting System (directed to Student Affairs or Business Affairs), the COVID-19 safety plans will be covered by questions in the online event application process. For event and permit requests at UF/IFAS facilities or at Certain Venues with Delegated Authority to Approve Event Requests, please include your responses to COVID-19 safety-related questions, which can be found at (https://businessaffairs.ufl.edu/events/), as part of your event request.
COVID-19 safety plan examples for both indoor and outdoor events and a template can be found here: (https://eventservices.ufsa.ufl.edu/coronavirus/).
Registered Student Organization (RSO) Requests
RSOs submit all event and permit requests to the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee through the GatorConnect Event Permitting System (orgs.studentinvolvement.ufl.edu).
User Requests for UF/IFAS On- and Off-Campus Locations
Requests for events and gatherings at UF/IFAS-controlled or -occupied facilities on- and off-campus require UF/IFAS administrative approval. The approvals will be made by the local UF/IFAS leadership, with further approvals up to the relevant UF/IFAS Dean. For events at county-owned facilities, the county and UF/IFAS must both agree to host the requested event. This step is a prerequisite for any additional university event or permit approvals required by the Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs through the Business Affairs GatorConnect Event Permitting System (https://businessaffairs.ufl.edu/events/).
User Requests at Certain Venues with Delegated Authority to Approve Event Requests (excluding requests from RSO’s)
The following venues have authority to approve events (subject to the appropriate university requirements) held in that venue:
• Austin Cary Forest Campus (sfrc.ufl.edu/forestcampus)
• Earl and Christy Powell University House (https://president.ufl.edu/office/house/)
• Emerson Alumni Hall (uff.ufl.edu/eah/)
• Florida Museum of Natural History (floridamuseum.ufl.edu)
• Harn Museum of Art (http://harn.ufl.edu/)
• J. Wayne Reitz Union (eventservices.ufsa.ufl.edu)
• Housing Facilities (https://conferenceservices.housing.ufl.edu/)
• Recreational Sports Facilities (https://recsports.ufl.edu/)
• Stephen C. O’Connell Center (oconnellcenter.ufl.edu)
• Straughn Professional Development Center (https://straughn.ifas.ufl.edu/)
• University Athletic Association Facilities (https://floridagators.com/rent)
• UF Historic St. Augustine (staugustine.ufl.edu)
• UF Performing Arts Venues: (performingarts.ufl.edu)
- Curtis M. Phillips Center for Performing Arts
- University Auditorium
- Baughman Center
Organizers of events and gatherings looking to reserve space in one of these venues should contact the venue as a first step. The staff managing these venues will assist the event organizer with any additional event or permit requirements.
All Other User Requests
All other user requests are to be submitted to the Vice President for Business Affairs or designee through the GatorConnect Event Permitting System (https://businessaffairs.ufl.edu/events/).
Any exceptions to the events and gatherings policies must be obtained through the campus event and permit request process and approved by the Vice President for Business Affairs or designee.
If the university determines that an event or gathering does not comply with these Campus Event and Gatherings Policies, the university reserves the right to:
• Deny or rescind the event organizer’s permission to use the venue (even if the event has already started); and
• Restrict the event organizer from reserving campus space in the future.
8. Local, State and Federal Guidelines
Finally, these policies will be adapted as needed as local, state and federal guidelines and declarations are revised and as public health circumstances on the campus and surrounding areas evolve.
Nothing contained within this Policy shall be interpreted to limit the constitutional or statutory rights of any individual including, without limitation, expressive rights protected by the First Amendment and the Campus Free Expression Act, Section 1004.097, Florida Statutes. Protests, marches, and other forms of expressive activities protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I of the State Constitution taking place in outdoor areas of campus do not require approval as outlined in this policy. Such activities must comply with all other rules outlined in this Policy and all other applicable UF regulations, policies, and restrictions that address the time, place, and manner of expressive activities, including, without limitation, the University’s Masking and Physical Distancing policy.