Winter holidays are all about togetherness, toasting to health and happiness, and travel. Plus: COVID-19 testing. You can help make sure that your guests are able to test before coming to your party by getting tests for your guests at no cost through the Health Department’s free special event rapid test kit distribution program.
The Tests For Your Guests program helps to ensure that guests are able to test days before a gathering, the day of a gathering, and after a gathering by providing rapid test kits to event hosts at no cost. And, check out our guidance on keeping your loved ones safe.
If you aren’t hosting a get-together but would like to obtain free tests, you can visit one of our resource hubs. Check out the locations and hours on our testing calendar.
Who can get these free tests?
Event organizers, including people hosting holiday gatherings, in Philadelphia are encouraged to apply for a supply of test kits. We will give priority to events that:
- Are hosted by and/or include communities that have historically had less access to healthcare resources, including areas with lower vaccination rates, higher case rates, and limited testing options or healthcare services (refer to the City’s COVID-19 dashboard here)
- Include a high number of attendees who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection (refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance here)
- Present a high risk for COVID-19 transmission, particularly if held indoors and with a large number of individuals
This includes things like holiday gatherings, community festivals, graduations, funeral gatherings and end of life celebrations, weddings, among others.
Who can I get free tests for my event?
All you have to do is complete the online application form and our staff will review the applications.
The form will ask questions about the event, with questions specifically about the event space itself to help gauge risk, who and how many people you’re expecting at the event, how you plan to distribute the test kits to your guests, and if you’ll need instructions in different languages and/or surgical masks.
Please apply at least two weeks prior to the event, so we have time to review your submission and work with you to be able to pick up the supplies.
It is possible that some events won’t be able to receive testing kits for a number of reasons, most notably that we only have a limited supply and are prioritizing the highest risk settings.
If your event is approved to receive COVID-19 tests, Health Department staff will reach out via email to set up an opportunity for you to pick them up.
What happens after I receive the tests?
Distribute them to your guests as you described in your application. Your guests will receive two tests. They can use them whenever, but it’s safest if they use one right before they come to your event, and the second one three to five days afterwards.
If you’re giving them out at the event, your guests should test themselves three to five days afterwards and at least 24 hours apart or whenever they feel COVID-19 symptoms.
People who test positive using these kits are not required to report their results to the Health Department. They should contact their regular health care provider to inquire about treatment options.