Constellation 2022 COVID-19 Policy
Posted: July 28, 2022, Updated: July 30, 2022
Everyone who attends Constellation 2022 must be both fully vaccinated and up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination, based on CDC definitions as of September 8, 2022. This includes both adults and minors over the age of 6 months. We want to provide information as to why we chose this policy and what it means is below:
Why is Constellation 2022 requiring vaccines + boosters?
We, as an organization (both the FirePony Creative Society Board of Directors and the Constellation Event Producers), believe it is in the best interest of our event, our attendees, and the greater community to hold a fully vaccinated event. When previously considering holding Constellation in both 2020 and 2021, we were guided by our commitment to Civic Responsibility and overall safety within our own and the surrounding Elkins community. That commitment has held true for 2022.
Additionally, we posed the question about safety and comfortability with our event team. In general, all major policy decisions are at least discussed with the BoD, Producers, and entire event team, including this COVID-19 Policy. A policy to require attendees be both fully vaccinated and up-to-date on the vaccination was widely supported by our team. Also, based on reception of similar policies at other events in the Mid-Atlantic, including our older sibling event Playa del Fuego, we believe this policy to also be widely supported within the community.
What does this mean for attendees?
All attendees must be both: 1) fully vaccinated; and 2) up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination. According to the CDC:
- Fully vaccinated means that you have completed the primary series of your initial vaccination. You are considered fully vaccinated if you have received:
- The full primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine (two doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech or one dose of Johnson & Johnson); AND
- Your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.
- You are up-to-date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have received all doses in the primary series and all boosters recommended for you, when eligible.
More information on the CDC policy we are referencing is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html.
Who does this policy apply to?
This policy applies to all attendees over the age of 6 months, the current minimum approved age to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. We do not think that an infant vaccination will be available in advance of the 2022 event or that it is necessary, given that any infants under 6 months of age who attend Constellation will have likely received in-utero antibodies from their fully vaccinated birth-parent.
Why are you requiring boosters?
According to the CDC and other public health sources, protection after a primary COVID-19 vaccine series decreases over time, especially against the newer Omicron variants. COVID-19 booster doses help increase protection against symptomatic infection and severe outcomes at the individual level and help reduce transmission at the population level. In order to feel comfortable holding this event and ensuring the safety of our attendees, we have decided to follow the advice of the CDC to reduce possible spread of COVID-19 at Constellation.
What are the cut-off dates for initial vaccinations and boosters, if eligible?
The following is based on current CDC guidance, as of July 24, 2022:
- For adults (18 years and older):
- If you are not yet vaccinated, you must receive your second dose of a two-dose vaccine or a one-dose vaccine by Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
- If you are fully vaccinated and received a 1-dose vaccine before July 5, 2022, you must get a booster before attending.
- If you are fully vaccinated and received your second dose of a two-dose vaccine before May 5, 2022, you must get a booster before attending.
- At this time, we are not requiring but do strongly recommend second boosters for adults over the age of 50.
- For children and teens aged 12-17 years:
- If they are not yet vaccinated, they must receive their second dose of a two-dose vaccine by Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
- If they are fully vaccinated and received their second dose of a two-dose vaccine before May 5, 2022, they must get a booster before attending.
- For children under 11 and over 6 months regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine:
- If they are not yet vaccinated, they must receive their final dose (2 doses for 5-11 years, 3 doses for 6 months to 4 years) by Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
- If they are fully vaccinated and received their final dose before May 5, 2022, they must get a booster before attending. This only applies for children 5-11 years, as boosters are not recommended for 6 months to 4 years.
- For children under 11 and over 6 months regarding the Moderna vaccine:
- If they are not yet vaccinated, they must receive their second dose by Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
- Boosters are not recommended for children under 11 who have received the Moderna vaccine.
Of note, these dates are based on being fully vaccinated and up-to-date by the day before the first date of the event (Wednesday, October 5, 2022), not the date you arrive.
According to the CDC, you are “up-to-date” on your COVID-19 vaccination the day you receive your required booster dose. Any attendees eligible for a booster must have obtained said booster before they arrive at the Gate for ticketing.
More information can be found on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
What if I arrive at the event and do not meet the above deadlines?
Anyone under suspicion for violating this COVID-19 Policy will be referred to the Conduct Committee. Do not show up at the event if you have not met the above requirements for “fully vaccinated” and “up-to-date” as you will be turned away. As a reminder, tickets and car passes are non-refundable.
If, in the event that an attendee is required to get a booster dose but has not received said dose before they arrive at the Gate for pre-check, they may choose to leave, obtain their required booster, and return to the event for ticketing. However, we strongly encourage every attendee to confirm their vaccination status and receive any required booster(s) in advance of the event, in order to maintain efficient Gate operations.
What about people who have had COVID-19?
People who have had COVID-19, even recently, must still comply with the above requirements.
Will this policy change leading up to the event?
No, the overall policy will not change. The main possibility we foresee is if the CDC updates their guidance/definition(s) of “fully vaccinated” or “up-to-date” to include a second booster shot for all adults or children and teens 12-17 years. The cut-off for following updated CDC guidance is September 8, 2022, which is 4 weeks before the event. We chose this date to allow attendees a modicum of certainty when registering for or purchasing tickets, as well as give attendees time to comply with the policy if it changes to require a second booster in advance of the event.
Are you requiring that attendees test for COVID-19 in advance of the event?
Attendees are highly encouraged to self-test for COVID-19 before attending the event, with a PCR test up to 72 hours before they arrive or a rapid test up to 24 hours before they arrive. Anyone who is found to have tested positive for COVID-19 (or suspected and avoided testing) but then attended the event anyways will be found in violation of this policy and reported to the Conduct Committee.
We also encourage everyone to test following the event, and we will set up a post-event reporting form to track potential transmission. More info to come as we get closer to the event on what this looks like.
What if I test positive before the event or have a suspected exposure to a COVID-19 positive person?
Short answer: it depends. Attendees are required to follow the most up-to-date CDC-guidance on “Quarantine & Isolation”, last updated on March 30, 2022 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html), as well as CDC-guidance regarding “Travel”, last updated July 12, 2022 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html).
Long answer: assuming you are fully vaccinated, up-to-date on your vaccination, and traveling to Constellation from within the domestic United States (lower 48), the below applies:
- If you are exposed to COVID-19 (close contact) more than 10 days before the event, you do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms or test positive following exposure. In line with CDC guidance, please test after 5 days to confirm a negative result and make sure you remain without symptoms. If at any time within 10 days of the event, you become symptomatic or test positive after a close contact, Bullet 3 applies.
- If you are exposed to COVID-19 (close contact) within 10 days of the event, the CDC does not recommended to quarantine but does recommend you get tested at least 5 days after your close contact and properly wear a well-fitting mask when you are around others for the entire duration of travel during the 10 days. As the latter is nearly impossible for us to enforce and ensure attendees could reliably follow, you may not attend the event.
- If you test positive within 10 days of the event, whether or not you are symptomatic, you may not attend the event. While CDC guidance states that may end isolation after 5 days if you: 1) have had no symptoms; or 2) if you have been fever-free for 24 hours and your symptoms are improving, you should not travel until a full 10 days after your symptoms started or the date your positive test was taken if you had no symptoms. As attending Constellation very likely involves travel from another City and across State borders, this restriction applies.
We realize the above may be a bit stricter than expected. When considering CDC recommendations around travel and those around quarantine & isolation, we are going with the more conservative guidelines (Travel) to reduce the likelihood of infection and spread of COVID-19 at the event.
Of note and according to the CDC, a close contact is someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes. More information on determining a “close contact” can be found on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/determine-close-contacts.html.
What if I feel sick at the event?
More information will be provided as we finalize our on-site mitigation plan.
What if an attendee is found to violate this policy?
By attending the event, you agree to abide by the terms outlined in this policy. Any attendee under suspicion for violating this COVID-19 Policy will be referred to the Conduct Committee. Potential consequences include immediate removal from the event and/or receiving a ban from future Constellation or FirePony events. Please do not put our attendees at risk or our volunteers in an uncomfortable place by defying any of the terms outlined in this policy.
What about the future, 2023 and beyond?
We are not clairvoyant, so we unfortunately cannot predict what things will look like in the future. It will be up to the 2023 Event Producers and FPCS BoD to determine future event policies.
What if I have questions?
All questions can be directed to COVID@constellationburn.org. Thank you.
Updated: July 30, 2022 to clarify that dates for vaccination cut-offs provided are based on the day before the event begins: Wednesday, October 5. 2022, and that based on CDC guidelines, you are considered “up-to-date” on the day you receive your booster. Attendees who arrive at pre-check who are eligible but have not yet received a booster may leave, obtain the required booster, and return to the gate to resume ticketing.