ALBANY, N.Y. – High school students can have their proms this year, but New York State has put out a strict set of guidelines that must be followed for capacity, food service, dancing and live music.
The rules are effective June 1, according to the state health department.
Capacity restrictions will be in place for indoor venues and catering halls, including:
- Small venues: 50% capacity for venues that hold a maximum of 100 people.
- Medium venues: Up to 33% capacity with 101 to 150 people maximum, depending on the size of the venue.
- Large venues: Up to 10% capacity for arenas or venues that hold 1,500 people or more.
The health department says the following guidelines must also be followed for all proms and balls, regardless of venue:
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.