Social Events and Campus Environment

We recognize that one of the greatest challenges posed by the pandemic is the necessary restriction on in-person socializing and entertainment activities that are integral to MBL campus life.  While many remote programs and events are available for connecting with friends and loved ones, safe in-person interactions are possible with some creativity and respect for health precautions.

Guiding Principles

  • MBL’s goal is to prioritize the health of the MBL and local communities s as we welcome back our Advanced Research Training Courses, Whitman investigators, undergraduate interns, and other academic programs.
  • Since re-opening our laboratories in June 2020, the MBL has sustained a rigorously compliant campus posture with respect to preventing the spread of COVID. The MBL will maintain that posture as it returns segments of its education and visiting research programs this year.
  • The MBL is a large and consequential member of the Woods Hole and Falmouth communities. Throughout the pandemic, the MBL has been a responsible community member with respect to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. The actions all members of the MBL community take this summer will be visible to our friends and neighbors. It is essential that all members of the MBL campus follow s policies and protocols to ensure a continuous level of trust with the local community.

On-campus Social Events

Indoor Events

  • No indoor parties or social events MBL on-campus buildings are permitted this summer. This policy may be adjusted should there be significant progress against the pandemic.
  • For those staying in MBL houses and cottages, indoor gatherings are limited to the residents of those houses.

Outdoor Gatherings

  • Outdoor social events with appropriate social distancing in accordance with limits imposed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are permitted. For on-campus, the MBL will provide tents to allow these events in the event of inclement weather. This will cover traditional social events such as course cookouts, beginning and end of course banquets, Whitman social events, and others. Tents will have capacities posted based on size of tent.
  • Organizers must register outdoor social events this year in order to reserve tent space. The point of contact for the social gathering should book the tent space through the MBL Booking Calendar or by emailing and then complete the online social event form which allows you to reserve space, catering and/or submit an alcohol request.
  • Outdoor social events require a point of contact responsible for monitoring the event to ensure participants meet MBL health requirements for social distancing and mask use.

Off-campus Social Events

  • To maintain social distancing requirements, all members of the MBL community must follow Massachusetts restrictions on gatherings, including parties. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health provides guidance on the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings. Currently the Commonwealth has prohibited gatherings and parties in private residences with more than 10 people. Outdoor gatherings may not exceed 25 people. Members of the MBL campus community who attend any off-campus gatherings are expected to wear a face covering and maintain at least six feet of social distancing.
  • The MBL strongly discourages events or gatherings in faculty homes not owned by the MBL that exceed limits permitted by the Commonwealth and encourage gatherings to be held outside.


  • In order to resume mission-critical research and education programs MBL campus access is limited to those with active MBL ID cards until further notice. Non-residential visitors to the MBL facilities are restricted to vendors or those explicitly invited and hosted by a faculty or staff member for business purposes.

Visiting local restaurants, shops, and other Cape Cod Attractions

  • The status of local restaurants, coffee shops, retail, and other establishments or attractions is governed by Commonwealth of Massachusetts reopening guidelines.
  • We ask that all MBL campus residential visitors exercise care when visiting these businesses or attractions and follow all public health guidelines.


  • Wear your mask (and remove only to eat and drink);
  • Maintain 6 feet of social distance;
  • Wash your hands frequently;
  • Always follow the MBL Health Requirements