GSO RE-OPENING GUIDELINES

AN NYC JULY 2020 EXPERIENCE -- GUIDELINES FOR REOPENING A GROUP’S ROOM

 

Reopening Guidelines:

  • The online meeting will continue to meet as it presently meets.

  • We seek to maintain a balance between reopening and safety.

  • These guidelines will be frequently reviewed and adjusted in response to changes in the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC.

  • Initially the subcommittee considered a gradual reopening starting with up to one meeting per day, However, upon learning from a number of group members that there was significant interest in opening and a clear and thoughtful plan for longstanding group members to chair all of the group’s meetings from the outset, the group came to the conclusion that the group could expand to the full schedule of 28 meetings immediately. There was sufficient interest in opening and an ample number of trusted servants willing to do the work to open in accordance with the required procedures, so on balance it made sense to allow members to meet in person.

  • There will be only 10 chairs in the room and only 10 people permitted at any time

  • Masks are required at all times. Anyone refusing to wear a mask must not be allowed to enter the room.

  • The Bathroom will be locked and unavailable.

  • It is recommended that no cash collections occur. 7th tradition contributions can be made via PayPal for the foreseeable future or through other digital means. The GROUP email address connected with PayPal. If cash is collected, it is the responsibility of the chair/steering rep to make the required bank deposits and notices to the group treasurer.

  • It is recommended that for each meeting, a list of first names and last initial with a phone number be maintained (and destroyed after 14 days). The purpose of the lists is to be able to – should contact tracing be required by NYC or NYS Dept. of Health – allow people who may have been exposed to a COVID positive person be notified of that fact.

  • Recommend no shared literature.

  • The group will supply Lysol or similar spray disinfectant so that group members can disinfect between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd meetings. The group will attempt to maintain a supply of hand sanitizer.

  • The group will supply masks for individuals who may not have their own when they come to the room. The goal is less to provide them for regular attendees who should bring their own, but rather to have them in case newcomers, visitors, etc who are unaware of the requirements come to the room without face coverings.

  • As the group has done for decades when the fire code maximum occupancy of 45 was exceeded, the group members who meet in person must manage potential overflow issues by helping people get to other meetings, or offering their spots to people with burning needs/desires to be in the room. The exact terms of this will not be legislated but rather the group has faith that members who can do so will manifest the spirit of service.

  • The people in the room for a given meeting have the option to “hybridize” the meeting by calling into the online web platform if the people at the meeting come to a group conscience to do so. Audio only is the preferred approach so that persons uncomfortable being on camera won’t be. If there is significant interest in implementing the hybridizing model, a portable Bluetooth loud speaker/microphone centrally located in the room could be purchased by the group for less than $300.

  • It is recommended that the group read an announcement at every meeting highlighting the COVID risk to vulnerable populations.

 

Chairperson Duties:

  • Opening and re-locking front door;

  • Implementing room safety protocols (10 people, distanced, masks);

  • Should a requirement not be observed after a reminder by the chairperson, the meeting is ended and the door is locked;

  • If implemented, maintaining for 14 days and securing in the locker the contact tracing document; periodically destroying all data 14 days old or older

  • If used, securing the audio Bluetooth speaker; connecting and disconnecting with the online meeting using a personal smart phone.

  • maintaining supplies (Lysol, masks) and getting reimbursed by the group treasurer

 

How these guidelines were developed:

Subcommittee convened at the request of the June 2020 business meeting

Subcommittee Members:  6 members

Step 1: Identify the principles that are the foundation of the decision-making process

Step 2: Identify/research all the salient facts from many sources

Step 3: Brainstorm a broad range of options, without judgment

Step 4: Whittle down the options by filtering through principles and facts identified.

1) Guiding Principles Identified

  • Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help another alcoholic achieve sobriety.  (Tradition 5)

  • We can change as we go.  (Tradition 4)

  • We don’t need a single solution to apply to the next year; the solution can change. (Tradition 4)

  •  Our goal is to continue to live with what’s going on now but reduce transmission of the virus. (Traditions 1, 2, 4, 5)

  • Our common welfare comes first; safety is of paramount importance. (Traditions 1, 4, 5)

  • While our common welfare comes first, at the same time the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  These could be in tension if only a few people can be in the room at a time. (Traditions 1, 3, 4, 5)

  • We follow the law and rightful orders from government (included in this are issues of legal liability and tracing and privacy and anonymity).  (Traditions 1, 2, 4, 10)

  • Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should do something. (Traditions 1, 2, 4, 10, 12)

  • In whatever solutions we come up with, we must be self-supporting.  From a financial and resource perspective, any solution has to be “doable”. (Traditions 4, 7)

  • We don’t know everything and there is no perfect solution. (Tradition 2)

 

Process: 

  • Subcommittee met for 6 one-hour discussions. 

  • Members attended several reopening workshops organized by SENY District 617 and 618.  These workshops emphasized the Twelve Traditions and how they relate to reopening considerations and available technology options.

  • Members reviewed federal CDC guidelines, NYC and NYS guidelines, AA’s GSO guidelines, AA’s NY Intergroup materials, SENY outlines, and various articles in the press.

  • Discussions with lease holder on the room regarding opening requirements.

  • Recommendations were presented to, and deliberated by the business meeting at one standard business meeting and a second specially scheduled business meeting to extend the discussion for the necessary time.

Requirements by landlord/church, the lease holder and federal, state or local governments (subject to change):

  • Maximum occupancy 10 persons/maximum10 chairs in the room. Optimize to maximize distance between chairs

  • Masks required at all times.

 

Lease Holder of Room protocols:

  • Will try their best to provide hand sanitizer. Will provide a limited number of masks when reopening first happens

  • No food or beverages allowed in the Little Room

  • Bathroom will be closed.

  • Will clean the room twice a day.

  • Will remove all but 10 chairs from the Little Room.

  • The lease holder will ensure the air conditioner in the room has the appropriate filter in place. At present, the recommendation is that the unit use a “hepa” filter. Recommend putting the A/C on the “ventilate” setting to bring in outside air rather than recirculate inside air.

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