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Infectious disease doctor gives advice on safe summer events

An infectious disease doctor shares some tips on how to have small gatherings safely this summer.

PORTLAND, Ore. — In a few months, the weather will warm up and people will want to get together. With more people getting vaccinated each day, what's the risk in having a gathering? Katie Sharff, an infectious disease doctor for Northwest Permanente, said it's important to keep gatherings small this summer.

"For those who are fully vaccinated, the current guidance is you can gather with other fully vaccinated people," Sharff said. "For those individuals who are fully vaccinated, you can gather with one other household of unvaccinated individuals as long as they are at low risk of COVID-19. So that's like grandparents seeing their grandkids for the first time."

Larger events might not come back until later this year. Dr. Sharff said organizers would need to prevent people from crowding.

"I think when you consider, 'I want to plan an outdoor event,' keep it outdoors," Sharff said. "Keep the masks on and you need to think about space."

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said event organizers need to have a plan, in case someone gets sick during or after. The Tigard Festival of Balloons and the Vancouver Fireworks Spectacular have already been canceled.

"There's too many factors," said Cindy Murphy, organizer of the Tigard Festival of Balloons. "We have high-risk pilots. They're usually in an older age range."

Tracy Graham, organizer of the Vancouver Fireworks Spectacular, said it's not the right time to bring everyone back together again.

"We just did not want to put anyone at risk," Graham said. "We know that we can not have 20,000-plus people at the Fort Vancouver site in July."

RELATED: Citing health and safety, Portland Rose Festival won't feature popular outdoor mainstays

The Portland Rose Festival will still happen, but there have been modifications. Most of the events will be virtual, according to CEO Jeff Curtis.

"We are going to produce Virtual Fleet Week," Curtis said. "Fleet week is a tradition of the Rose Festival."

All the organizers are hopeful that 2022 is the year everything can come back, and they're already planning for it.