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Updated guidance for proms, balls released by New York State

Autistic student's prom date denied entry
Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 12, 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Monday, New York State released updated guidance for proms and balls as well as graduation and commencement ceremonies. You can find the graduation and commencement ceremonies guidance here.

The state says as of June 1 end of academic year social gatherings organized by educational institutions, such as proms and balls, will be allowed with limited capacity and further restrictions in place.

The capacity will be dependent on the capacity of the venue. The venues and organizers must follow the state's guidelines including requiring face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information. You can find the detailed guidance here.

The state says for events that exceed the social gathering limits of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, the organizers and venues must notify the local health department and require attendees to show proof of a recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization prior to entry.

Outdoor Events:

  • Large-scale ceremonies of over 500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 20 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 2,500 or more.
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 201-500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 200 people or 2 attendees per student at outdoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

Indoor Events:

  • Large-scale ceremonies of over 150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 10 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 1,500 or more.
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 101-150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 100 people or 2 attendees per student at indoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

The state says proms and balls that involve eating and/or dancing, no matter the venue, must comply with the above venue and capacity restrictions and the further restrictions below.

  • Event organizers must ensure that attendees are not congregating, except when seated at their assigned table. Attendees should only be standing when necessary (e.g.,enter/exit, restroom, use of staffed buffet), when essential to the event (e.g., entrance), or, when permitted under the below circumstances.
  • Event organizers may provide cocktail receptions for attendees where standing is permitted with strict adherence to social distancing; provided, however, that attendees only remove their face coverings to consume food and beverages while seated. Further, attendees must not remove their face covering and must not consume food and beverage if members of different parties are within six feet.
  • Event organizers may permit live music, entertainment (e.g., DJ), and/or dancing within the following parameters, which will be revisited by the State as the public health condition continues to change:
    1. Live music performers and other entertainers, particularly if unmasked or playing a wind instrument, must be separated from attendees by either 12 feet or an appropriate physical barrier.
    2. Attendees may dance with members of their same party in designated and clearly marked dancing areas that allow for appropriate social distancing between members of different parties and any tables (i.e., at least, six feet apart). Attendees must wear face coverings while in the dancing area.
    3. Event organizers can consider creating dance zones for tables, assigning parties to different times on dance floor, alternating which tables of attendees can dance or be seated, setting and enforcing capacity limits for dance floors, and/or other measures to ensure appropriate distancing between attendees.
  • Event organizers should consider staggered intervals for food service at staffed buffets to allow attendees to maintain social distance while waiting in line.
  • Event organizers should consider serving any passed foods (e.g., hors d’oeuvres) in containers that limit touching of any shared surfaces (e.g., platters) by attendees.
  • Events are subject to inspection by State and local health authorities to ensure compliance with all provisions of State-issued guidance.