State releases new guidelines for prom in the era of COVID-19 safety protocols

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 food service, dancing and live music.

Posted: Apr 13, 2021 12:20 PM
Updated: Apr 13, 2021 12:28 PM

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.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2066989

Reported Deaths: 52611
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings27515910235
Queens2723029785
Suffolk1983523365
Nassau1813753158
Bronx1801106498
New York1359564416
Westchester1283032262
Erie872971765
Richmond734501794
Monroe651661057
Orange47547810
Rockland46511952
Onondaga37558668
Dutchess28937442
Albany24270348
Oneida22021503
Niagara19398349
Broome18127355
Saratoga14924165
Ulster13638250
Schenectady12835195
Rensselaer11002140
Putnam1048891
Chautauqua8703140
Chemung7435134
Oswego732390
Ontario723492
Steuben6639143
Sullivan647272
St. Lawrence641596
Cayuga611292
Jefferson576766
Wayne554667
Cattaraugus546586
Genesee5286121
Herkimer5054107
Clinton475133
Madison441488
Fulton428190
Livingston425658
Tompkins419350
Montgomery4146121
Columbia3944101
Cortland367960
Tioga361861
Warren352957
Wyoming344951
Allegany335384
Chenango335376
Otsego335347
Greene329775
Washington302755
Orleans299283
Lewis260734
Franklin250312
Delaware229037
Seneca196256
Schoharie163216
Essex156326
Yates115626
Schuyler102614
Hamilton3042
Unassigned13458
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