Covid19 In-Person Meeting Protocols
Reopening Phase One
The San Francisco Gratitude Center Operations Committee is taking steps to reopen the Gratitude Center in June. In order to create a safe space for our recovery fellows to gather, the facility procedures and meeting schedule will look much different than they did in March, when the Gratitude Center closed for the shelter-in-place.
- AA Declaration of Unity
- “This we owe to AA’s future: To place our common welfare first; to keep our fellowship united. For AA unity depends on our lives and the lives of those to come.”
The First Tradition tells us “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on A.A. unity.” The Fourth Tradition tells us “Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups, or A.A. as a whole.” Traditions One and Four are more important now than ever. Together these traditions remind us that we must ensure that our group decisions do not negatively impact our fellows or AA as a whole, and that we as individuals act in ways that ensure the common welfare of everyone. Additionally, the San Francisco Gratitude Center is required to address other considerations including following SF Department of Health safety directives and state law, in order to mitigate any possible liability issues, and anything else that could potentially impact its ability to continue to serve as a refuge for those in recovery. Therefore, as we plan to reopen the Gratitude Center, we have to consider the safety and well-being of both A.A. members and nonmembers, as well as protect the positive reputation and goodwill of the Gratitude Center and A.A. in the community.
The San Francisco Gratitude Center Operations Committee is now accepting requests for meetings to occur in-person at the Gratitude Center. Meetings must demonstrate that they are willing to take extraordinary steps to protect the safety and well-being of their fellows from Covid-19, by agreeing to and following the new facility policy and procedures set forth.
Any group interested in starting a new meeting or resuming a previous meeting at the Gratitude Center can fill out the Start A Meeting form via the link below. The Gratitude Center Operations Committee will consider each request and make determinations as to which meetings return to the Gratitude Center for Phase One of its reopening period.
We are in Phase One of the reopening process, and our goal is to reopen the Gratitude Center for in-person meetings as soon as June 22nd, 2020, if requested and approved, and then onboard additional meetings as they are approved.
How To Start A Meeting:
Any previous or current group is invited to make a request to have in-person meetings at the Gratitude Center. All requests should be submitted via the online Start A Meeting request form.
Current Online Zoom Meetings:
All current Gratitude Center Zoom meetings will continue to meet on Zoom as their group conscience allows. Trusted servants from these meetings are invited to submit their requests to meet in person at the Gratitude Center per their meetings’ group conscience.
- Main Room Only — Only the Gratitude’s Center Main Room will be used for meetings during Phase One of the ReOpening
Three Meetings A Day — A maximum of three (3) meetings will occur each day, each separated by at least two hours, during Phase One of the ReOpening; ideally we are interested in having one morning meeting, one midday meeting, and one evening meeting each day
- Back Room and Upstairs Area Closed — The Back Room and Upstairs Area will remain closed until further notice; the back room and upstairs are strictly off-limits for both groups AND individuals, including no sponsor/sponsee meetings
- Hands-Free Sanitizer Dispenser — A hands-free hand sanitizer dispenser has been installed in the foyer next to the kitchen window
- Safety and Seventh Tradition Signage — New signs are installed in the Main Room which outline safety procedures and Seventh Tradition information
Hybrid In-Person / Zoom Meetings:
- Technology and equipment has been set up in the Main Room to allow for in-person / Zoom hybrid meetings
- Hybrid in-person / Zoom meetings will be broadcast via Zoom, but not recorded, much like all current Zoom recovery meetings
- Mics and cameras have been set up and tested in the Main Room so that people attending the in-person meeting at the Gratitude Center can be clearly seen and heard by those attending the Zoom meeting
- A large screen TV and speakers have been set up and tested in the Main Room so that people attending the in-person meeting can clearly see and hear those attending via Zoom
Trusted servants must agree to follow all of the safety protocols listed below in order to have the privilege to meet at the Gratitude Center. Meetings that continue to follow all of the safety protocols may remain at the Gratitude Center. Meetings that demonstrate that they are not willing or able to follow all the safety protocols will be given one warning and will have an opportunity to take corrective action. If a meeting continues to ignore safety protocols after their first warning, the Operations Committee will invite that meeting to meet elsewhere and revoke their key code.
Gratitude Center Safety Preamble:
To support trusted servants, the following Gratitude Center Preamble is provided to be read at the beginning of every meeting during opening statements before the Preamble:
- “In honor of AA’s first and fourth traditions, all members of this meeting are encouraged to take responsibility for the safety and well-being of all fellows attending meetings at the Gratitude Center and to adhere to all its safety protocols. We understand that if we do not abide by these safety protocols the meeting will have to leave the Gratitude Center. Individuals who do not comply with the safety protocols and put others at risk, and risk the closure of the Gratitude Center, will be asked to comply or ask to leave the meeting until they can comply. If anyone has questions or concerns they may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- 12 Person Facility Capacity — The capacity of the Gratitude Center’s Main Room is 12 persons which means that no more than 12 persons are allowed to be in the Gratitude Center at one time; meetings, through Safety Monitor service commitments, are required to enforce maximum capacity requirements (See Required Service Commitments below)
- Masks Required — The Gratitude Center requires everyone to wear masks over mouths and noses before entering the Gratitude Center and to continue wearing masks while inside the building; persons who remove masks while in the building will be asked to put their masks back on; the wearing of masks is not open to group conscience, but is required by state law
- Masks Not Provided — Due to budget constraints, the Gratitude Center is not able to provide masks to fellows who do not have them; fellows must bring their own masks/face coverings; groups can decide to purchase disposable masks that can be sold or provided to newcomers or visitors
- Social Distancing Required — In compliance with San Francisco’s Health Department directives, fellows must remain at least six feet apart from each other at all times while inside the Gratitude Center; chairs will be set up in compliance of this order, and additionally the floor will be taped to indicate chair positioning; under no circumstances may a group rearrange the chairs or furniture set-up in the Gratitude Center
- Food & Beverages Are Not Allowed — In order to encourage the proper use of masks, food and beverages will be not allowed inside the building; the Gratitude Center will no longer provide coffee for meetings; a large trash can will be placed at the entrance for the disposal of items as needed; fellows may enter when their travel mugs or disposable cups are empty and disposed of or placed inside a bag or backpack
- Bring Your Own Literature — The Gratitude Center literature and materials have been stored away and will not be available to share; fellows are encouraged to bring their own literature for meetings; most AA-approved conference literature, such as the Big Book and Twelve and Twelve, are available for free on smartphones and devices at www.aa.org; the Gratitude Center wi-fi network and password are displayed
- Laminated Reading Materials — Laminated versions of the reading materials such as How It Works, The Traditions, A Vision For You, and The Ninth Step Promises will be provided; laminated reading materials will be cleaned after each meeting by designated Cleaning Crews from each meeting (see Required Service Commitments below)
- Seventh Tradition — The seventh tradition basket will be placed in a stationary position in the Gratitude Center Main Room; attendees will be asked to place their contributions into the seventh tradition basket one person at a time, or to make an electronic donation via Venmo, SquareCash or PayPal; Seventh Tradition signage will be posted prominently on the Gratitude Center walls
- Cleaning Protocols — Each meeting is responsible for cleaning the Gratitude Center after their meeting; detailed instructions and cleaning supplies are provided for trusted servants (see Required Service Commitments below)
- Contact Tracing Protocols — Each meeting is responsible for facilitating contact tracing protocols for each meeting that occurs as recommended by the City of San Francisco (see Required Service Commitments and What is Contact Tracing below)
Service Commitment Requirements:
Each meeting is REQUIRED to have the following service commitment positions filled in order to help ensure the well-being and safety of all fellows:
- Secretary — Acts as official meeting liaison to the San Francisco Gratitude Center; conducts regular recovery meetings; conducts business meetings; substitutes for other meeting officers when necessary; makes AA announcements. It is recommended that Secretaries should have at least one year of sobriety
- Treasurer — Collects, counts, documents, and submits funds collected for Seventh Tradition at each meeting; makes announcements regarding digital contributions; documents meeting attendance for each meeting; substitutes for other meeting officers when necessary. It is recommended that Treasurers should have at least two years of sobriety and their own source of income other than the 7th Tradition.
- Zoom Host (if broadcasting a hybrid meeting via Zoom) — Manages Zoom technology for each meeting; arrives 15 minutes before the meeting starts to begin the Zoom meeting and ensure technology is working; coordinates with Secretary to ensure Zoom attendees have the opportunity to share; must know how to use a computer and have experience managing Zoom meetings. It is recommended that Zoom Hosts should have at least six months of sobriety.
- Safety Monitors — Engage and encourage fellows to follow the safety protocols for the Gratitude Center; arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the meeting starts; staff the door before, during and after the meeting; ask fellows to place food and beverages in the trash can before entering; remind fellows to social distance; remind fellows to keep their noses and mouths covered; enforce the 22 person capacity limit; connect fellows who come after capacity is reached with other meeting or temporary sponsor options; escort fellows who are not willing to follow the safety protocol out of the building. It is suggested that three or more persons share and rotate this commitment for each meeting and that at each meeting two Safety Monitors work together. It is recommended that Safety Monitors should have at least one year of sobriety.
- Clean-Up Crew — Follows a strict post-meeting clean-up protocol to help protect the safety and well-being of fellows, including but not limited to, wiping down all surfaces and high-touch spots, cleaning bathrooms, emptying trash; the Gratitude Center will provide cleaning supplies including disinfecting solution in spray bottles and paper towels. Two or more persons are suggested for this service commitment. No recommendations for Clean-Up Crew sobriety.
- Contact Coordinator — Facilitates the process of collecting names for Covid-19 contact tracing for each meeting that occurs; the process should include collecting names — first names and last initials — and phone numbers of attendees at each meeting on a daily tracing sheet; daily contact tracing sheets should be kept for a maximum of one week and then destroyed; the Contact Coordinator may also maintain a master contact list for their group; the Contact Coordinator encourages fellows to remember and use the email email@example.com to inform the Gratitude Center Operations Committee if they themselves, or someone else they know, has been exposed to Covid-19; the Contact Coordinator must register with the Gratitude Center by emailing their contact information and meeting information to firstname.lastname@example.org; if the Gratitude Center is contacted by the San Francisco Health Department about Covid-19 exposure, someone will contact the appropriate Contact Coordinator to request information. (See What is Contract Tracing below)
What is Contact Tracing?
By asking each meeting to elect/assign a Contact Coordinator to facilitate contract tracing protocols, we all share the responsibility of keeping fellows safe. Contact tracing is a vital way to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 and to keep our community safe.
In public health, contact tracing is the process of identification of persons who may have come into contact with an infected person (“contacts”) and subsequent collection of further information about these contacts. By tracing the contacts of infected individuals, testing them for infection, having them self-quarantine, treating the infected and tracing their contacts in turn, public health aims to reduce infections in the population. The goals of contact tracing are:
- To interrupt ongoing transmission and reduce the spread of an infection
- To alert contacts to the possibility of infection and offer preventive counseling or prophylactic care
- To offer diagnosis, counseling and treatment to already infected individuals
- If the infection is treatable, to help prevent reinfection of the originally infected patient
- To learn about the epidemiology of a disease in a particular population
Individuals with the Covid-19 are infectious up to two days prior to the onset of symptoms, and on average each carrier can spread the disease to two or more people with whom they come in contact. If a member of your group shows symptoms of Covid-19 and tests positive, the San Francisco Department of Health will get in touch with that person and ask with whom have they been in close and ‘extended contact.’ The definition of ‘extended contact’ includes sitting in the same indoor room as an infected person for longer than 15 minutes, even while following 6’ social distancing and mask-wearing protocols, and requires contract tracing protocols. Anyone who has been determined to have come in contact with someone who was exposed to Covid-19 should self-quarantine for at least two (2) weeks and call their healthcare providers immediately to get tested. Any questions you have can be directed to Jackie B. on the Gratitude Center Operating Committee, by calling or texting (415) 225-0613.
Surfaces and Items to be Cleaned:
- Secretary’s Desk
- Laptop and Keyboard
- Laminated Reading Material
- Chair Backs and Seats
- Door Knobs: Front Door and Bathrooms
- Light Switches & Plates (Please use a kleenex to shut off before leaving)
- Toilets: Flush Handles and Seats
- Toilet Stall Doors and Locks
- Bathroom Sink: Surfaces, Knobs and Faucets
- 7th Tradition Basket and H&I Dropbox
- Any other surface that may have been touched by a group member
Cleaning Supplies Provided by the Gratitude Center:
- Spray bottles filled with premixed disinfecting solution (trusted servants should never mix the disinfecting solution – that is provided by the Gratitude Center Operations Committee)
- Disposable Paper Towels
- Disposable Gloves
- Laminated Instructions
Steps For Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use:
- Wear disposable gloves; these are provided in the cleaning supply bin
- Pre-clean the surface with soap and water if the surface is dirty
- Spray disinfectant on paper towel, enough to wet the paper towel, and wipe down the surface; the full surface area should be wet
- Let the surface stay wet for at least 60 seconds to ensure the disinfectant is effective
- Wipe dry after 60 seconds with a clean paper towel
- Discard paper towels and gloves
- Wash your hands after disposing of the gloves