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COVID-19 Guidelines for Meetings & Events

Like most organizations during COVID-19, Cornell University has established a series of policies, procedures and guidelines for those wishing to hold meetings and/or events on campus. This information may change with little or no notice, so please check this page often.

When hosting academic- or business-related events, unit gatherings, symposia or other similar gatherings on campus, or permitting external third-party events, please adhere to the following guidance. Be aware that requirements may change quickly – impacting your event – if COVID-19 transmission rates increase on campus or within the local community, or in response to local, state, or federal guidelines or requirements. Event organizers are responsible for checking this site frequently and staying informed about changes in requirements. Guidance for all spectators of athletic events, as well as information on indoor and outdoor sporting events, is available on the Cornell Athletics website.

For the most recent updates and guidelines regarding Events, visit https://covid.cornell.edu/events/ or see highlights below. For additional information on face masks, including information about singing, musical instruments, and how to properly wear a mask, visit https://covid.cornell.edu/prevention/face-coverings/

All In-Person Events and Meetings

All in-person events taking place on campus (and some virtual events) will need to schedule through the Scheduling@Cornell website for approval. For step-by-step instructions on how to request space for an event, how to edit your events, and how to get assistance, visit the Academic and Event Scheduling website page called Getting Help.

Guidance for events intended for the Cornell community (current students and employees)

The below guidance pertains to events limited to Cornell audiences and to such events where invited guests (lecturers, performers, panelists, etc.) are the only expected attendees from outside the Cornell community. All invited guests must follow Cornell’s public health guidance for presenting proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival to campus.

Indoor Room Capacity/Outdoor Event Attendance

Indoor events can be held at full room capacity, but, whenever possible, designate enough space to allow for physical distancing that could be used by unvaccinated individuals, or by vaccinated individuals who may not feel comfortable sitting near others. If an event may exceed the available room capacity, overflow space must be available to avoid overcrowding. When practical, Zoom or other online viewing option should be made available to accommodate those who would otherwise be at risk or unable to attend in person.

Public Health Requirements

Face masks are required at all indoor events by all attendees, regardless of vaccination status. Outdoor masking is required for unvaccinated individuals. Outdoor masking is recommended (but not required) for vaccinated individuals participating in large outdoor events.

Indoor meetings or events lasting only a few hours shall not include food or beverages. This includes coffee, cookies or other snack items that might traditionally be served before, during or after meetings. If hosting longer events, meals can be provided; however, food and beverage should be pre-prepared/pre-packaged to avoid congregating around food stations. Individuals should wear masks until seated and put their mask back on directly after finishing eating or drinking. If possible, individuals should eat outside, distance while eating and avoid large groups.

At outdoor events, food and drink may be provided; however, food and beverage should be pre-prepared/pre-packaged to avoid congregating around buffet or food stations.

Guidance for events that are open to the surrounding community in addition to current Cornell students and employees

Indoor Room Capacity/Outdoor Event Attendance

Indoor events are limited to 75% of the room or venue capacity to facilitate physical distancing. Whenever possible, appropriate space should be designated to allow for physical distancing that could be used by unvaccinated individuals, or by vaccinated individuals who may not feel comfortable sitting near others. When appropriate, a Zoom or other online viewing option should be made available to accommodate those who would otherwise be at risk or unable to attend in person.

For all outdoor meeting and events, organizers must be mindful of space capacity and, as needed, manage attendance size to allow for physical distancing to occur.

Attendee Public Health Requirements

Face masks are required at all indoor events by all attendees, regardless of vaccination status. Outdoor masking is required for unvaccinated individuals. Outdoor masking is recommended (but not required) for vaccinated individuals participating in large outdoor events.

All attendees who are current Cornell students or employees must show their Cornell ID for admission to the event. Cornell employees attending indoor events must complete the Daily Check prior to attendance.

Attendees who are not current Cornell employees or students (such as alumni, visitors, invited guest speakers or performers, parents, community members, third party event attendees and others) must bring photo ID and provide one of the following when arriving at an event:

  • proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine (Excelsior Pass encouraged, but photo, screenshot or copy of vaccination card are acceptable);
  • results of a negative FDA- or DOH-authorized PCR, rapid PCR, or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) COVID-19 test collected within 72 hours of the event start; or
  • an FDA-authorized antigen test performed on a specimen collected within six hours of the event start.
Child Attendee Requirements

Attendees ages 12 and older must also present proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival at the event. Photo ID is not required if accompanied by a parent or guardian. Children younger than age 12 are not required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result; however, all such individuals must wear a mask when attending indoor and outdoor events, even when physical distancing can be maintained.

Event Organizer Guidance

Event organizers are responsible for screening non-Cornell attendees by reviewing proof of vaccination and test result documents upon arrival to the event. These materials should be verified visually at check-in for the event and should never be collected from attendees in advance or stored digitally. Employees who will be reviewing proof of vaccination and test result documentation must complete a required training, which will be offered through CULearn. In the interim, training can be requested by contacting the COVID-19 Support Center.

Event organizers must ensure attendees are aware of all necessary public health guidance and communicate expectations to attendees in advance of the event. Access the available print and digital resources, and all events should include signage with the following language: “Please adhere to Cornell University’s COVID-19 guidelines. Stay informed at covid.cornell.edu.”

Food and Drink

Indoor meetings or events lasting only a few hours shall not include food or beverages. This includes coffee, cookies or other snack items that might traditionally be served before, during or after meetings.

If hosting longer events, meals can be provided; however, food and beverage should be pre-prepared/pre-packaged to avoid congregating around buffet or food stations. Individuals should wear masks until seated and put their mask back on directly after finishing eating or drinking. If possible, individuals should eat outside, distance while eating, and avoid large groups.

At outdoor events, food and drink may be provided; however, food and beverage should be pre-prepared/pre-packaged to avoid congregating around buffet or food stations.

Virtual Events and Meetings

If you are hosting a virtual event, an event request form must be completed using Scheduling@Cornell if the event:

  • expects attendees under 18 years of age (excludes Cornell registered students)

  • uses the University logo
  • is photographed or recorded for distribution
  • invites an outside performer/speaker/musical artist
  • is a hosted conference
  • distributes any items to attendees prior to the virtual event/meeting
    • e.g., DYI kit, food, or alcohol
  • invites a dignitary or government official

If possible, provide options for remote viewing of your event or meeting (Zoom, webcast, etc.).  Cornell Information Technologies (CIT) provides the following resources:

Guidelines for Sororities and Fraternities

Visit the Sorority and Fraternity Life website for current policies and procedures for Greek organizations.