When Can I Go to Concerts and Sporting Events After Being Fully Vaccinated?


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Key Takeaways

  • The CDC still recommends against attending concerts and sporting events.
  • If you choose to go to one of these events, it’s important to follow COVID-19 precautions like social distancing and wearing a mask.
  • Restrictions will likely be lifted when the U.S. population reaches herd immunity.

Getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can feel like a ticket to freedom after more than a year of lockdowns and social distancing. But, given that the majority of Americans still haven’t received the vaccine, it can come with questions about what is and isn’t considered safe to do.

That’s especially true when it comes to being around large groups of people, like at sporting events and concerts. We asked experts to weigh in on whether you should consider returning to some of these crowded spaces sometime soon.

When Are You Fully Vaccinated?

It takes time after receiving your vaccine to be fully vaccinated. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after your single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

CDC Sporting Event Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can start easing into doing some of the activities they stopped doing because of the pandemic. However, they also point out that researchers are still learning how vaccines impact the spread of COVID-19.

The organization still recommends that you keep taking precautions in public places, like wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until more information is available.

While the CDC has guidance about attending sporting events, they don't specifically address how this guidance may differ for people who have been fully vaccinated. Under the guidance, the CDC recommends that you “stay home” and avoid going to sporting events altogether. But, if you choose to go, they suggest you do your best to stay 6 feet away from others, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, and stay away from poorly ventilated areas.

The CDC also breaks down sporting event-related activities by risk.

The lowest risk activity involves watching the sporting event at home with members of your household. But that risk starts to climb as variables change.

According to the CDC, the lowest risk situation that still involves attending a sporting match in person, would include:

  • The event, including tailgating, is held outdoors
  • All attendees wear masks
  • Attendees are discouraged from yelling, chanting, or singing
  • All attendees stay at least six feet away from people they do not live with
  • Attendees at a community sporting event are from the local area and limited to family and friends of athletes
  • Attendees do not share food or drinks or personal items with people they don’t live with
  • The sports program has several mitigation strategies and messaging in place to prevent or reduce the spread of COVID-19

But events are considered more risky or high risk once the venue is poorly ventilated, people stop wearing masks, attendees starting yelling or chanting, social distancing isn't enforced, and food is shared among individuals.

CDC Concert Guidance

The CDC lumps concerts in with other large gatherings, and also recommends you avoid them.

If you do decide to go to a concert or other large gathering, the CDC recommends wearing a mask, staying at least six feet apart from other people who do not live with you, avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces, and gathering outdoors instead of indoors, whenever possible.

What This Means For You

Gathering in groups with anyone outside your household still comes with some level of risk of contracting COVID-19. Experts say more needs to be known about variants and transmission. Ultimately, it’s a risk-benefit analysis you have to make for yourself when considering attending a concert or sporting event.

Evaluating Your Risk

Experts are split on whether it’s OK to attend one of these events when you’re fully vaccinated. And the CDC’s guidance on concerts and sports events doesn't specifically address vaccinated people.

Infectious disease expert Amesh Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Verywell that, “if you’re fully vaccinated, it is safe to go to those events.”

That’s especially true if there is a mask policy in place and other precautions, he says. And, if you know that everyone at the event is also fully vaccinated or there is a vaccinated section—like the Miami Heat is instituting—it’s even safer, Adalja says.

But Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease specialist and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Verywell that people should be cautious, largely due to COVID-19 variants that are spreading. “We don’t fully know how effective the vaccines are against them,” he says.

If you do decide to attend a concert or sporting event, Watkins recommends staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask, and avoiding eating or drinking, which requires you to remove your mask. Keep in mind that you may need to bring your vaccination card— for example, the Miami Heat is requiring it to access their vaccinated section.

This won’t be the case forever, though. “When society reaches herd immunity, that is, 70 to 80% vaccinated, it is likely that attending large events will be okay,” Watkins says.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in number of COVID-19 vaccinations in the US.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you’ve been fully vaccinated: how to protect yourself and others.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attending sporting events.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Large gatherings.

  5. NBA. Heat to open vaccinated-only sections for fans.

By Korin Miller
Korin Miller is a health and lifestyle journalist who has been published in The Washington Post, Prevention, SELF, Women's Health, The Bump, and Yahoo, among other outlets.