Thinking about having a vehicle parade or participating in one during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Minnesota Department of Health has advice: Organizers of vehicle events should keep in mind that COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that is sometimes fatal, especially for older adults and those with underlying health conditions.

Vehicle events and in-person social gatherings with people from multiple households, even in situations where ample space between attendees could be accommodated, does not always promote social distancing practices, health officials say. These events can introduce a great deal of contact unpredictability, such as impromptu hugging and embracing, and increase the potential for disease transmission.

The Minnesota Department of Health offers these considerations for a car parade or parking lot ceremony:

  • Remember the safest option right now is for everyone to stay home. Participating in a vehicle event could put people at risk of interacting with others if they experience car trouble, flat tires, etc.

  • Consider whether having an event encourages people in high-risk groups (particularly older adults and people with underlying health conditions) or ill people to come out rather than stay at home. People may come out because of their desire to celebrate this significant milestone and not wanting to be “left out.”

  • Consider what accommodations need to be made to ensure equitable participation (e.g., people without access to a vehicle; ridesharing should not be permitted).

  • Determine if your event will require communication with open vehicle windows (such as a presenter using a microphone) before the gathering to optimize planning for parking and social distance between vehicles.

  • Each household should be in a separate car; carpooling does not comply with social distancing.

  • Make it clear that people with COVID-19 symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, etc.) should not attend – no matter what.

  • Attendees must remain in the vehicles they arrived in.

  • If attendees are in cars with the windows up for the entirety of the ceremony, cars may park immediately adjacent to one another.

  • If attendees are in cars with windows down, cars should park 6 feet apart.

  • Provide clear messaging that people may not walk to the ceremony or participate outside of vehicles.

  • Create a traffic flow plan for how vehicles enter and exit the event.

  • Make the event brief.

  • Do not serve food or beverages at the event.

  • There should not be passing of objects or physical contact between vehicles.

  • If objects are passed from event organizers to car attendees, utilize a long arm claw or other mechanism to maintain adequate distance between organizers and attendees.

  • Do not provide public or portable bathrooms; this creates a risk of transmission.

  • Limit the number of speakers to the smallest number possible and ensure they avoid close contact (e.g., within 6 feet) with others. Speakers should not congregate, and should return to their vehicles following presentations.

  • Whenever possible, use individual microphones if multiple speakers will participate. If a microphone must be shared, consider cleaning between speakers or leaving it untouched on a stand.

  • Partner with local public safety officials so they are aware of your event.

For more information, visit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html), or call the COVID-19 hotline at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.