COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

Head of the Charles Regatta
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

Last Updated: August 30, 2021

In consultation with advisors from Massachusetts General Hospital, this COVID-19 health and safety guidance has been developed to facilitate a safe and successful regatta by incorporating optimal mitigation strategies against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the causative virus of COVID-19).  The Head of the Charles Regatta (HOCR) will adhere to the guidance of USRowing and to the public health regulations in the cities of Boston and Cambridge, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the United States Centers for Disease Control.  This guidance is also subject to change as scientific knowledge advances, based on changes in disease epidemiology and prevalence, and to conform to appropriate regulatory guidance.

General Guidance

Given an increasing understanding of COVID-19 transmission and in light of increasing vaccination prevalence, we believe that a safe and successful Regatta is well within reach.  Importantly, transmission outdoors is understood to be much less likely than transmission in indoor spaces.  Further, HOCR is held across a wide geographical area and over a long window of time such that direct and concentrated person-to-person exposures are uncommon.  Nonetheless, as with an activity that involves gathering, even with multiple mitigation strategies, the risk of transmission cannot be eliminated.  We encourage all participants to adhere to best practices to reduce the risk for all.

Signs requiring compliance with COVID-19 health and safety regulations will be posted at all official HOCR stations and at sponsor tents.  Signs will remind participants to isolate if symptoms develop, to mask if unvaccinated and indoors, and to maintain social distance as feasible.

Vaccination

  • Only those individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be eligible to volunteer at the Regatta.  Fully vaccinated individuals are those who have received two doses of an mRNA vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single dose of the Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with at least two weeks having elapsed since the final dose.  A third “booster” dose is not currently required for volunteer participation.  Individuals vaccinated outside of the United States will be considered fully vaccinated if they have received a vaccine series as authorized by the World Health Organization, with at least two weeks having elapsed since the final dose. The verification process will be communicated at a later date.
  • HOCR strongly encourages vaccination of all other participants, including athletes, sponsors, and spectators. With the exception of volunteers, vaccination is not mandated for participation.
  • HOCR will ask participants about vaccination status at the time of registration. Disclosure of vaccination status is optional for non-volunteer participants.   Vaccination status may be used in the event of a COVID-19 exposure at the Regatta.
  • All participants understand that there may be unvaccinated individuals at the Regatta and will consider their own behaviors accordingly.

Attestation

  • Athletes, staff, volunteers, and sponsors will be required to complete an attestation. The following components of the attestation will be included:
    • Participants will attest to follow all COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including self-isolation if symptoms develop, and cooperation with all HOCR and Department of Public Health actions in the case of an exposure or other public health event.
    • Attestation will confirm that the participant is not currently subject to quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 exposure or illness (or if attestation is completed in advance, that the individual will notify HOCR and voluntarily withdraw participation if in quarantine or isolation at the time of the event).
    • Attestation will confirm that the participant has not had symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to arrival. Any participant, regardless of vaccination status, with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to the event should be tested for SARS-CoV-2 in order to participate in the event.  Only those with recent symptoms with negative tests will be allowed to participate in the event.

Testing

  • HOCR will not require SARS-CoV-2 testing among asymptomatic participants. However, athletes, staff, sponsors, and volunteers will be required to follow all applicable U.S. and state testing and quarantine requirements related to travel, symptoms, and exposure.
  • For those that develop symptoms compatible with COVID-19 at the event, and for those who are identified as contacts of those with COVID-19, HOCR will identify local testing options for participants.

Social Distancing and Capacity management

  • HOCR will adhere to state and local regulations around capacity management. Per the guidelines released by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on June 15th, 2021, there are no current restrictions on indoor and outdoor gathering size nor capacity limitations. HOCR will encourage social distancing whenever possible but will not impose additional capacity limits in any of the venues.  This is subject to change if pandemic conditions require or in the event of new State or national guidance.

Masking and Indoor Spaces

  • HOCR will adhere to state and local regulations on mask usage.
  • Masks will not be required outdoors. Those that are unvaccinated and/or vaccinated but immunocompromised and still potentially vulnerable to infection, will be asked to wear masks outdoors, especially when distance cannot be maintained.
  • All participants (including athletes, coaches, event staff, sponsors, volunteers, and spectators) will be required to mask while indoors, consistent with current public health guidance. Weather and facility permitting, HOCR will open windows and doors of indoor spaces whenever possible.
  • When required, masks should be comprised of multi-layer cloth or surgical masks, and securely cover the nose and mouth.

Hand Hygiene

  • We encourage all participants to wash or sanitize their hands regularly. Hand sanitizer stations will be available at official HOCR sites and will be required in all sponsor tents.
  • Individual hand sanitizers will be available at registration as well.

Symptomatic Participants

  • All participants should abide by state and local public health guidance surrounding SARS-CoV-2 isolation and quarantine. Lack of cooperation with public health guidance will be grounds for removal from the event.
  • Any participant, regardless of vaccination status, with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to the event should be tested for SARS-CoV-2 in order to participate. Only those symptomatic participants with negative tests will be allowed to participate in the event. Participants will be asked to attest to this at registration.
  • Any participant who develops symptoms compatible with COVID-19 while at the Regatta should immediately self-isolate. HOCR will have information available on local test sites.  Those who test positive will be required to inform HOCR so that the appropriate public health agents can be notified.

Exposures and Contact Tracing

  • In the event of an exposure that occurs at the Regatta, HOCR will cooperate with local and state public health authorities. HOCR will expect all participants and attendees who are notified by either HOCR or public health authorities to cooperate with contact tracing and/or quarantine as appropriate.

Registration

  • On-site registration will be redesigned for this year’s regatta to limit crowd sizes and allow for social distancing. This will be done by a combination of early registration for certain competitors, registration windows, and possible separate sweep and sculling tents.

Key Stakeholder Groups:

Athletes and coaches (domestic and international)

  • All participants are required to follow CDC as well Massachusetts regulations regarding arrival testing/quarantine protocols that are in place at the time of the Regatta. These may change from the time of initial registration and it is the responsibility of the participant to know the rules related to their location of origin.
  • HOCR will not be responsible for providing quarantine accommodations if they are required and will not reimburse any expenses related to travel or quarantine should an individual or team not be allowed to participate due to COVID-19.
  • All participants are urged to be fully vaccinated at least 2 weeks prior to the event.

Volunteers

  • Volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated. The verification process will be communicated at a later date.
  • Volunteers may not work if they have any symptoms that might be COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status

Sponsors

  • Sponsors should encourage anyone invited to their area to be vaccinated.
  • Sponsors must abide by state and local capacity limits at the time of the Regatta and are responsible for ensuring their sponsorship location does not exceed the allowed capacity.
  • Sponsors are expected to maintain at least one open end to any tent to ensure adequate air flow.
  • Will be allowed to serve food and drinks if permitted by State guidelines at the time of the Regatta.
  • Will assist in contact tracing should an outbreak occur that has proximity to their sponsorship location.
  • Sponsors are free to impose additional restrictions if approved by HOCR.

Spectators

  • HOCR expects all spectators will follow all applicable state and local regulations.
  • All spectators are encouraged to be vaccinated and if not vaccinated then advised to follow current guidance regarding mask usage. Even when outdoors, unvaccinated persons should still wear masks in crowded settings in which distance cannot be maintained and when in proximity to any athletes, coaches, volunteers, and event staff.
  • Any individual with symptoms that could be COVID-19 should not attend and should seek medical care.