Campus Events and Gatherings in response to COVID-19

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 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 of requests for in-person activities 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.

While planning your events and gatherings for the Spring and Summer Semesters 2021, please consider the following prior to submitting your requests:

  • 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 requests will increase the likelihood of an approval (see the attached chart depicting low, medium and high risk events and gatherings).
  • 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:

https://businessservices.ufl.edu/services/catering/event-planners-departments/

  • 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.
  • Given that up to 40 percent of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic and that those who are symptomatic may not develop fever, temperature checking appears to be an inefficient means of identifying people who should be denied entry to an event or gathering.
  • Effective and enforceable modifications to in-person events and gatherings are likely to increase the odds of obtaining an approval, some examples include:
    • Grab and Go and Drive-in events;
    • 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.

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 is 50 persons. 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.
  • The maximum attendance for outdoor events and gatherings is 250 persons. Venue managers have the latitude to set lower maximum capacities for their venues.
  • 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.
  • Every person coming to 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 the Office for 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.
  • Event request/approval processes must be observed for all campus events and gatherings (see a more detailed description of the approval processes at the end of this document).

These policies are further modified by the following:

  • 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.
  • UF/IFAS off campus meeting spaces considered University Properties will follow the same restrictions and requirements.

These policies are not intended to address instructional activities, University Athletic Association team practices and competitions, or RecSports programming and activities.  Ancillary events held in spaces controlled by the University Athletics Association or RecSports are to follow these policies.

UF-hosted and -sponsored in-person events and gatherings held at non-University Properties are to follow these policies as well.  Non-UF persons, groups, and organizations utilizing University Properties for in-person activities must accept responsibility for complying with these policies 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.

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.

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 .

Any exceptions to the events and gatherings policies must be obtained in writing from the Vice President for Business Affairs or designee.

Campus Event Request/Approval Processes

Organizers of events and gatherings are required to submit COVID-19 safety plans for their requested in-person activities.  For requests submitted through the GatorConnect Event Permitting System (directed to Student Affairs or Business Affairs), the safety plans will be covered by questions in the online event application process.  For event 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.

Registered Student Organization (RSO) Requests

RSOs submit all event/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 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:

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 submit event/permit requests to the Vice President for Business Affairs or designee through the Business Event Permitting System [https://businessaffairs.ufl.edu/events/].