Marion County is offering guidance on mass gatherings regarding COVID-19, after-school activities, sports canceled


ocala-news, ocala post, marion county news, health

OCALA, Fla.—To help protect the health of those most vulnerable to the threat of COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health in Marion County is strongly urging attendees of large community events and mass gatherings to not attend if they:

  • are or have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19
  • are over the age of 65 and have underlying health conditions
  • are immune-compromised
  • are ill
  • have been exposed to someone with a respiratory illness in the last 14 days
  • have chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease
  • have traveled internationally within the last 14 days, especially to destinations under a level 3 travel advisory (China, Iran, Italy and South Korea)
  • have traveled to or from a geographic area with widespread community transmission of COVID-19

“We are providing these recommendations based on CDC and Florida Department of Health guidelines,” said Florida Department of Health in Marion County Administrator Mark Lander. “We all have a role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. This includes modifying our personal behaviors in the interest of protecting the health of the community.”

While large-scale gatherings of more than 1,000 people are discouraged, event planners may choose to proceed based on the lack of community transmission or other relevant information. These events should incorporate a screening tool to assist with the assessment of attendees to determine recent travel history, potential/past exposure to COVID-19 and current health status.


Additionally, everyone is encouraged to:

• Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.

***SPRING BREAK remains on the normal calendar from March 16-20. However, all school-based and extra-curricular activities in MCPS are canceled or postponed through March 24.***

This is a list of some of the canceled events

• Charlie Dixon Elementary Music Festival at First Baptist Ocala, Thursday

• Belleview High School’s trip to Miami to see “Hamilton”

• West Port High School’s JROTC trip to a national competition in Virginia next week

• Wreaths Across America education visit to Hammett Bowen Jr. Elementary on Friday

• Howard and Dunnellon middle school trip to Washington, D.C., next week

• Visits to colleges and universities canceled due to state directive to move those campuses to online platforms

• Marion Technical College nursing student visits local nursing homes and assisted living facilities

Marion County Public Schools Director of Public Relations Kevin Christian said the cancellations are just a precaution.

Christian said events, including club-based outings, district events, extracurricular and sporting competitions, or events attracting a crowd of 250 or more will be canceled.

For more information on mass gatherings, please visit

For MCPS information visit