Pinellas County is enhancing safety for large outdoor events as it continues the fight against COVID-19.

County government and municipal officials are taking a unified approach by developing safety standards for large outdoor events of 1,000 or more attendees. The county issued an emergency order Jan. 21 outlining those requirements.

“Our goal is to help prevent the fast spread of this deadly virus as community events start to pick back up,” said County Administrator Barry A. Burton. “We have many events happening here and these measures will help ensure we’re as safe as possible until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely made available.”

Under the new order, organizers for large, outdoor community events of 1,000 or more attendees will be required to create a safety plan that outlines steps to protect patrons from COVID-19.

Each plan will describe how the event organizers will meet criteria such as:

• Face covering requirements (mandatory for all event staff and attendees);

• Caps on attendee numbers to maintain social distancing at all times;

• Safe access to and from the event, including screening of staff and individuals for any COVID-19 symptoms;

• Signage and communication to participants about the safety requirements

• Sanitation and disinfection requirements

Event organizers must submit their plans in advance to the municipality in which the event is intended to take place. For unincorporated areas, they should contact Pinellas County Government. All events must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Event organizers should contact the respective municipality for details on plan submittal.

The emergency order does not apply to school events operated by or under the jurisdiction of the Pinellas County School Board, public health events such as mass vaccinations or testing, and religious rituals where social distancing is otherwise maintained.

The order will only remain in place until there is a consistent reduction in the spread of COVID-19, as well as sufficient vaccines made available to Pinellas County.