COVID-19 Event and Gathering Policy

To ensure a safe and healthy campus amid the rising prevalence of COVID-19 in our region and in recognition of how the pandemic is taxing our health care providers, the university is temporarily adjusting how we gather and interact as a community.

orange gathering risk meter with arrow

Emory is operating in the orange category.

Current Status

On January 19, the university outlined restrictions for certain gathering opportunities on campus. As of February 8, the university will allow these restrictions to expire, and we will immediately RESUME the following activities for residential students:

  • Recreation centers will be OPEN on the Atlanta and Oxford campuses.
  • Indoor gatherings of groups of ten or fewer students, with a faculty or staff member present, will be ALLOWED.

As before:

  • In-person offices, classes, and labs will continue.
  • Outdoor gatherings of ten people or fewer, with a faculty or staff member present, will be permitted.
  • Face coverings will be required on campus as well as distancing and other hygiene practices.

Revised February 8, 2021

Events and Gatherings

“Events” or “gatherings” shall mean persons are physically present at a single location. Guidance for events or gatherings may also be applied to incidental gatherings but are not intended to guide density in transitory spaces. This policy governs all Emory-sponsored events, whether on campus or off campus.

Given our commitment to a reduced density on campus, we encourage the evaluation of both the risks and the benefits to the community when considering a gathering or event and require adherence to the measured approach that is outlined.

This policy is not intended to replace other university policies related to events and gatherings but is intended to complement those policies by providing guidelines to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Please refer to those policies for relevant guidance. This policy does not govern the university’s religious services, athletics programs, or use of fitness facilities, which are considered separately in the table of activities by alert level. In-person faculty or student colloquia and guest speakers remain prohibited through fall 2020. Off-campus Emory-sponsored events and gatherings are also prohibited through fall 2020.

Guidance for events and gatherings are mapped to the table of activities by Emory’s operating condition status. This status is determined by leadership and is informed by community prevalence of COVID-19 and other factors that indicate the need for more or less restrictive behavior. Emory is now using a color-coded meter system to easily show the current gathering risk.


The limitations for events and gatherings also are defined in a manner that is congruent with limitations on other defined activities, e.g., the number of students in a lecture hall.  

Please refer to the table of event activities (PDF)

Food and Drink

Food and drink guidelines for events and gatherings are outlined in the table of dining activities (PDF)

Registration of Guests

  • For formal events with invited guests, organizers must maintain an attendance list for not less than two weeks, should the list be required to facilitate a contact tracing process. Fill out this form to register your gathering.
  • Please note that the Event and Gathering Policy does not supersede the Visitor Policy. 

Responsibility for Adherence to Infection Prevention Measures

  • Every formal event organizer will identify by name a person responsible for attendee adherence to infection prevention measures (face coverings, physical distancing, etc.)
  • Disregard for infection prevention measures among attendees may compromise the organizer’s ability to continue the current event or schedule future events.

Infection Prevention Measures

It is the responsibility of the individual student, staff member, or faculty member to ensure they have completed all the steps required for return to campus before attending an Emory-sponsored event or gathering. Only community members who have been cleared to be on campus can attend Emory-sponsored events and gatherings.

All attendees at events and gatherings should follow these infection prevention guidelines:

  • Do not come to an event if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Do not come to an event if you have been advised to quarantine or isolate by a health care provider, a public health official, Student Health Services, or the Emory Contact Tracing Team.
  • If you develop signs and symptoms of illness while at the event, please leave and seek medical assistance as appropriate.
  • Maintain and follow physical distancing directives.
  • Always wear a face covering.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Hand sanitizer and extra face coverings must be made available for attendees at events.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Environmental Cleaning

High-touch surfaces must be disinfected before and after every event by the event organizer.