community members social distancing at a park

Changing COVID Restrictions: Communities Work to Prevent Rising Cases

The number of new COVID-19 cases has been increasing sharply since the start of July, which has prompted a new wave of COVID-19 hospitalizations. In response, COVID restrictions have been updated in some parts of the country. This page explores the current landscape of COVID restrictions and answers key questions surrounding the topic, such as:

  • Do certain states have new COVID restrictions?
  • How can I learn about the COVID restrictions by state?
  • Which events have been canceled due to COVID restrictions?
  • How can my community work to keep case numbers down and lift  COVID restrictions?

Updated COVID Restrictions in Some States

A New York Times report analyzed data from March 2020 to November 2020 and found that stronger policy responses to fight outbreaks resulted in fewer cases. As each state has their own guidelines, it is important to look at what the data has indicated are effective policies for fighting the spread of COVID-19. The full 2020 New York Times report can be viewed here.

Some guidelines may be effective in your own community and could help keep you and those around you safe. Currently, the CDC recommends exercising caution with regards to gathering when a community is experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases. As for policies at the state level, each state has had their own response to rising cases across the country.

On August 23, 2021, the mayor of Honolulu, Hawaii announced additional restrictions related to COVID-19 due to a rising number of cases. Hawaii provides a good example of how a variety of restrictions are used to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The restrictions implemented by Honolulu limit the number of people allowed at indoor and outdoor gatherings to 10 and 25 individuals, respectively. The discrepancy in the number of individuals allowed is likely because the CDC states that indoor events pose a higher risk than outdoor events do. Additionally, restaurants in Honolulu are now limited to 50% capacity. 

“COVID-19 cases are up dramatically, and our healthcare workers are being pushed beyond their limits,” said Rick Blangiardi, the mayor of Honolulu.

The state of Hawaii has not yet imposed restrictions on out-of-state visitors, but Governor David Ige has made it clear that traveling to Hawaii may not be ideal due to the large number of new COVID cases in the state.

“We know that it is not a good time to travel to the islands. The visitors who choose to come to the islands will not have the typical kind of holiday that they expect to get when they visit.” said Ige. “There will be limited access to restaurants and other places to eat.”

Other states have implemented similar COVID restrictions and warnings for tourists. For an overview of COVID restrictions, the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) provides a list of COVID restrictions by state that is frequently updated. For more detailed information, go to the CDC’s travel planner to learn more information about your local community as well as your destination community.

Due to COVID Safety Concerns, Entertainers May Cancel Shows

Certain bands have canceled their tours due to safety concerns. One notable recent example is the music group BTS, which recently canceled its worldwide tour

The band’s label, Big Hit Music, made a statement about the cancellation. “Due to changing circumstances beyond our control, it has become difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned.”

The CDC recommends avoiding large gatherings when possible, which includes both indoor and outdoor concerts. The CDC states that large gatherings, particularly indoor gatherings where attendees may not be following all recommended safety guidelines, could lead to an increased risk of exposure. Additionally, concerts often involve attendees traveling from many different areas, which is another safety concern that the CDC states in regards to large gatherings.

Click here to see a comprehensive list of musical performance cancelations compiled by Billboard.

How Communities Can Navigate Rising Cases, Safety Concerns and New COVID Restrictions

With communities doing their part to help prevent new COVID-19 cases, we can work towards keeping people safe and lifting COVID restrictions as quickly as possible.

Stay Informed on Vaccine Efficacy

According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and can help prevent the transmission of the virus. The CDC also states that the Delta variant is highly contagious and can lead to serious illness, particularly in unvaccinated individuals.

Understand CDC Guidelines Based on Vaccination Status

Click here to read CDC guidelines for fully-vaccinated individuals. The CDC still recommends unvaccinated individuals follow the prevention measures outlined here. The CDC also provides a resource for families that have both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

Consider Guidelines for Hosting Events

The CDC provides comprehensive guidelines for hosting both large and small gatherings, including how to maintain a healthy environment and what to do if someone gets sick. 

Some key points the CDC provides are:

  • Avoid attending large gatherings when possible
  • Work to reduce the risk of spread at events by promoting healthy behaviors, including mask-wearing and social distancing.
  • If someone gets sick at or after the event, have a plan to isolate them and notify those they have been in contact with.

Click here to read details of the guidelines.

Stay Updated on New COVID Restrictions

New COVID restrictions may be necessary to slow the spread of the virus in certain communities. Communities can encourage individuals to stay informed on both local and non-local COVID restrictions with the CDC’s travel planner.

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