Guidelines

All department-sponsored in-person events and all non-departmental events on the main campus are now canceled through Dec. 31, 2020. Local departmental events should not be occurring off-campus because such events are not currently permitted by the Bay Area shelter-in-place orders.  Departmental in-person events outside of the Bay Area are permitted only if compliant with all local public health requirements in effect at the location of the event. If public health directives change and operational conditions improve, this decision will be revisited. It is highly recommended that event sponsors consider converting events to remote delivery. This recommendation pertains to non-instructional and non-research convenings of students, faculty, staff, or the public through Dec. 31, 2020.

Scope and exceptions

  • If you have an existing contract pertaining to an event that is scheduled to occur prior to Dec. 31, 2020, you may request an exception to this cancellation of events from the Vice Chancellor for Administration for the purpose of keeping the contract in place until the date of the event is closer, in case this cancellation is rescinded by that date.
  • You may continue to plan for in-person events. However, due to public health conditions and operational constraints, you may have to cancel them eventually or switch to remote delivery, if that is possible.  In such a case, your department would generally be responsible for all of the contract damages associated with the cancellation, unless you have specifically been advised by the Office of Legal Affairs that your contracts protect you from damages in the event that public health orders associated with the pandemic are covered.
  • Intercollegiate Athletics activities, including practices and competitions, may proceed in accordance with current safety protocols and in compliance with the Berkeley Public Health Order. The University will honor existing agreements with the Pac-12 Conference and the NCAA.
  • Separate direction will be issued with regard to gatherings of residents in student housing.

Additional guidance regarding off-campus events and gatherings

The purpose of the cancellation of on-campus events is not to encourage holding departmental events in off-campus facilities. The Bay Area shelter-in-place orders prohibit people who don’t reside in the same household from gathering for any purpose that is not expressly permitted, such as religious worship or peaceful outdoor protests. The shelter-in-place orders do not permit professional meetings or activities such as fundraising events, even if the attendees wear face coverings and maintain physical distance.
  • Alameda County allows “social pods”, but a departmental event cannot occur within a social pod.
  • Restaurants are allowed to be open subject to significant limitations which would preclude them being the location for a departmental event.
  • The shelter-in-place orders attempt to balance the public health necessity that people minimize gatherings with economic interests and the rights of individuals to worship and peacefully assemble.
  • Public health authorities decide how to balance these interests, and those decisions are set forth in the shelter-in-place orders.
  • Local departmental events should, therefore, not be held in off-campus venues.
Any employee travel to an event must be consistent with local isolation requirements and all campus policies regarding travel during the pandemic. If public health directives change and operational conditions improve, this guidance and the campus prohibition on departmental events will be revisited.  

Public health orders

Please note that there is a very low probability that any departmental events or non-departmental campus events will be permitted by the shelter-in-place orders at the time the semester begins. We will provide an updated directive if the state and the local public health officer specifically approve gatherings of a size and type applicable to the University. Until then, you should assume in-person events and gatherings are not permitted on campus through the end of this calendar year.

Background

At a high-level, the following factors led to the decisions listed above:
  • As of mid-July, neither the State of California nor the local Public Health Officer has approved the campus resuming even limited in-person instruction.
  • It is not certain that there will be in-person instruction this fall. Fall instruction will begin remotely.
  • The additional burden already placed on operational units (such as Facilities Services) to provide services to limited essential research and in-person instruction is straining available resources. It is not likely there will be resources available to support additional types of gatherings during pandemic conditions.
  • Gatherings and assembly are prohibited by the current public health order (PDF), with narrow exceptions for places of worship, funerals, and tight-knit personal “social bubbles”.
  • Even if safety measures are in place, gatherings are still prohibited under the public health order. For example, there are no exceptions for gatherings that take place outside, allow for six-foot physical distancing, or require people to wear face coverings.
  • It is possible that the state and the local public health officers will approve assembly for in-person instruction during the fall term but not approve assembly for social or co-curricular activities.