In Between Fellowship Reopening
The In-Between has been having discussions on the reopening of the Fellowship. A committee was formed met several times and came up with a proposal. We presented it at the Business Meeting on Monday, it was approved.
In accordance to the IBF By-laws we are to notify the membership. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please attend the next Business Meeting.
The committees report follows.
PROPOSAL FOR THE IN-BETWEEN FELLOWSHIP RE-OPENING
While we know many of our member are eager and excited by the possibility of in person meeting again. We must be mindful the In-Between Fellowship is very unique and not like most others, so very careful considerations should be in place.
Some feel the temptation to rush to re-open meetings. There could be costly fallbacks because of opening too soon.
In order for us to protect our Fellowship we should be mindful of the Traditions. Tradition 1 Our common welfare should come fist; personal recover depends on AA unity. When make groups decisions we say “Each group should be Autonomous. Tradition 4 is just as important (the last part) Except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
The traditions remind us that our group decision does not negatively impact our fellowship, members, workers or AA as a whole. They remind us that we as individuals act in ways that ensure or common welfare and safety.
We have to consider the health and well-being of our AA members and we must protect the reputation and goodwill the In-Between Fellowship upholds and has maintained for over 55+ years.
We should also abide and adhere to the mandates of the County, State and CDC when applicable. We have not been and are still not exempt from Covid 19.
One thing this Pandemic has taught us is that there are many ways to connect. Not only locally but internationally. Gratefully thousands of newcomers have been getting sober in Zoom meetings. We have been able to attend meetings anywhere in the world, we have invited speakers from other states to chair our meetings. We have been able to attend conferences and workshops and other events from our homes. Phone and online meetings do not replace the need for in-person meetings, but they add to all the ways we can carry the message of our experience strength and hope.
Also, we must be mindful of our older members and our families who might suffer if we as members of this Fellowship make hasty decisions and not take the proper precautions to assure the safety protection of our members.
IBF adhere to the CDC Guidelines, State and County Guidelines.
We will uphold the guidelines for a period of time (60 days) to assure our members are not at risk and there are no outbreaks again. We will monitor the conditions and make new recommendations if needed.
Mask will be mandated in order to assure the safety of our members we would like to mandate the wearing of masks for 60 days; and revisit it then. We can never be too safe.
Temperature checks there will be not temperature checks
Sanitizers and wipes will be available for distribution - there will be both sanitizers and wipes on a table upon entry. There can also be six bottles placed throughout the building for use. We can purchase a large one and use it as a refill after the smaller bottles get low.
Wiping down and spraying before and after each meeting including the restrooms the secretary should ask members to stay after to help with the wiping down of the fellowship hall and bathrooms.
Signs will be posted regarding spacing, masks etc. - there will be signs announcing the new requirements for the Fellowship that require the mandate of masks and social distances, food and cleaning.
There will be sign-in sheets - upon entry the member will be asked to write their name on the sing-in sheet there will be six pens in a cup. The member can; once they are finished; they should wipe the pen down and place the pen back into the cup for the next person to sign-in.
This is also good to have this in place in case there is someone that has contacted or been around someone who has been infected. Then way we can notify our members and let them know that there was someone in that meeting that was impacted (we will not reveal that person’s name).
Bar to be open in-between meetings a. will there be refills? Dispensers
If coffee/tea is served they should be served with disposable cups only.
The committee recommends no coffee bar for the first 30 day. It can present another risk.
When we do, we recommend to have packed sugar, cream and creamer and not use the dispensers. The ceramic cups should not be used for a 60-day period. No Styrophom cups will be used ever. We will purchase hot cups with lids.
We could go back to having a coffee maker as another service position. If we hire a bartender now that can open up another can of worms. Because with the gentrification in the area people from the city might come checking on the businesses that have now opened. If there is an employee it is possible, they can involve Osha. We don’t want to take the risk of being fined or closed down indefinitely. The building is now in prime real estate area due to the modification of the subway.
Supplies such as packaged sugar, cream creamer and cups with lids will look up and it is fairly inexpensive. However, when the bartender is in place again, they can be responsible for being the only person who touches those items and the sterilizing of everything dealing with coffee.
Signs will be posted not to touch coffee items around the bar. There will be no refills during the meeting for health and safety reasons. This will be reviewed in 30 days.
Dominos, chess etc. allowed - There should be no dominos, chess etc. There are many hazardous risks with people coming in and out of the Fellowship, especially when they can’t be monitored. With the many hands touching the items it could be very hard to wipe them down. The table is one that can’t be wiped down. There are so many variables it will be hard to contain any possible spread of contamination.
The committee decided to table bar item for 30 days and the domino and other games for 90 days later and then revisit it.
The opening - the IBF past practice and according to the By Laws, is when a decision is to be made regarding to major issues a group conscience is needed. We must post on the bulletin board (website) and announce at each meeting for 30 days prior to the next Business Meeting to give all members an opportunity to vote. We will also post a copy of this proposal.
After the Group Conscience vote at our next business meeting . We would like to start with a test bed with one meeting for 30 days; then revisit it. Our suggestion is to start off with one meeting per day, during the week. It can be the 9:00am or the 1:30 p.m. The 5:30 was not considered because prior to the Pandemic and Fellowship closing there were only between 4-5 people in attendance.
We recommend to keep that meeting on Zoom indefinitely. Also, we will be looking at how to have Hybrid Meetings included. Currently, we don’t have the capability to do dual meetings and the Fellowship is not equipped to do Hybrid. However, Eric C. has information to present.
We will gradually move on to open the other meetings after reviewing the attendance and health issues.
We would like to test for 30 days before moving forward with any other openings.
Capacity - will be 25 people. This is based on the current capacity off 50. This will allow for simi social distance spacing (3 ft.) that the County suggest for schools and other facilities.
Books to be used for meetings Big Book, Step and Tradition study should be provided by the member - Every member will be asked to bring their own book. This is for safety purposes. The CDC states paper and books in particular are a nesting ground for the virus. If you spray the books in stock will become warped and distorted.
Pre-Amble, How it Works and Twelve Traditions readings - The secretary will read the Pre-Amble and the beginning part of How it Works. The 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions can be read from the walls by members.
Eric C. will come up with a draft and the format for the meeting and post in on the table in plastic.
Spacing of seating - There will be signage posted on the bench for social distance and caution tape put up. Member will be seated every other seat inside and out around the tables. There will be limited seating around the bar (Spacing should be 3ft apart).
Ventilation and its importance - It was mentioned, the Landlord is not responsible for any repairs or modifications of the interior of the building. Anything that is done has to be on the tenants.
Ventilation is still a problem; we can get two large fans and that should help. Otherwise we have to depend on the two fans in the ceiling, the back door and the upper window; which is not enough ventilation. We can also get a purifier.
Alternative public spaces a way to handle overflow - We need to figure out a location that can be determined as an overflow. If we reach capacity, we have no space for overflow. It is suggested if a member is not able to get in, we can have a senior member (sobriety time) give up their seat. Also they can speak with the person; and after the meeting is over others can share with them to give help.
This could be problematic since that person might need a meeting as well. We would have to be careful especially if they are a newcomer. We don’t want them to feel bombarded or rejected and turned away. It is a very hard decision on this item.
We can also look at the Rainbow Park which is close off Seminary. But by the time we get to an overflow location the meeting time could be over.
That might not be an issue, since prior to closing for the Pandemic, there weren’t a large attendance at meetings; so there might not be any overflows. The only meeting that has large attendance is the Sunday Old Timers.
Also, with the parking in the area now it might be problematic for our members to park.
This item will be tabled for 30 days.
Managing any new responsibilities taken on in order to resume meetings - We will ask members to step up in service when needed, service is a part of recovery, this is a part of recovery. New responsibilities are with the Secretary, Coffee Maker person and those who will be wiping things down. (presented earlier).
If we need to have someone assist with something we can ask members prior to the start of the meeting and have the Secretary make the request just before the closing prayer as a reminder.
A sponsor can also ask their sponcee to pitch in.
Communicating the opening to our members - We will post it on our website.
Have the secretaries make the announcements at each meeting?
Contact the Intergroup and Central Office.
Phone calls and word and mouth.
Accessibility issues routinely experienced by some members even before this time of challenges - we have considered those who are wheel chair bound, there is a ramp for their use.
Making transportation available when they call the Fellowship (once the phone situation is resolved) and keeping Zoom accessible.
7th Tradition channel for receiving contributions (such Cash App, Zelle , Checks and Money Orders) should it maintain that channel once it is meeting again - We recommend the Fellowship continue to maintain the accounts and keep them open for contributions. Cash App and Zelle online, Money Orders to mailed or drop of to the Fellowship.
Requests from 7/21/21 to the proposal that were not included
Other opening days and times – It was suggested we resume in person meetings on Saturday and Sunday meeting.
The committee would like to start with one a day weekday meeting as a test bed for 30 days. After that period of time we can further open up the weekend meetings with the 9:00 am and 12 noon and Sunday at 9:00 am and 11:00 am.
What are other Fellowships doing – It was suggested we check to see what other Fellowships are doing. We can have an online expansion it can result in the 7th Tradition increase from both meetings. After checking with them we found:
Rockridge Meetings are being held all 9:00 am and 5:30 pm and outdoors in their courtyard
El Cerrito Open meetings will begin on Friday Night at 8:30pm
Hayward 5 day a week @ 6:30 pm Saturday @ 8:00 pm
Lake Merritt 12:00 noon @ the park on the 20th there will be a potluck
Gilman 5:00 pm on Wednesday 6:00 pm Saturday
The In-Between Fellowship is unique and not like most others. This is why we are making our decisions on our membership needs and safety.
Re-Opening cost and implantation - There was concerns regarding the cost of repairs and getting the re-opening started because of the financial conditions. Our recommendation is to create a wish list of items that will be needed. It can be posted on the website.
Also, have the secretary to make that announcement about the wish list. Members can volunteer to donate items. We can also look into having fundraisers such as musicians that would volunteer to play at places and donate their funds to the Fellowship.
The 7th Tradition and Fundraisers will be tabled for 30 days.
Issues - There are some electrical issues that have come up as well as lighting issues; Gene A. has a guy working on this problem.
By the building being closed for so long we might face plumbing problems down the line that might need to be addressed.
Membership attendance – we have been doing a count of attendance for the past few weeks to get a better idea of which is the more popular ones.
It reported that count doesn’t matter our count should be by the deposits prior to closing. The Saturday and Sunday ones were the most generous givers.
It was requested we check with Evette to see what the County is requiring - The Committee met and disused information with Evette from California Public Health perspective which Alameda County adheres and reference to. Information shared was presented from the printed guidelines and no professional opinion was given.
The capacity restrictions have been lifted by the state and county leaving it up to each business to make their own determination on if they want to restrict the capacity guidelines lifted.
The same with distancing and the masking requirements again social distancing have been lifted by the state and county Ieaving it up to each business to make their own determination on if they want to restrict the social distance on their seating.
Below you can review the various suggestions from the CA guidelines.
3. General Considerations
For buildings with mechanical ventilation systems, (see Section 5. Improving Mechanical Ventilation.
Inspect and maintain exhaust ventilation in support areas such as kitchens.
Ensure exhaust fans in restrooms and other areas are functioning properly and operating continuously or as needed. Since the virus can be present in fecal matter, closing toilet lids (if available) during flushing is advised.
Keep windows and other sources of natural ventilation open to the greatest extent possible.
Consider adding Portable Air Cleaners (PACs) in areas where fresh air ventilation cannot be increased.
4. Improving Natural Ventilation and Proper Use of Fans
Consider implementing any of the following to improve the supply of outside air into a space, using caution on days with poor air quality:
When weather and air quality conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk to anyone using the facility.
Use fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows. Position fans securely and carefully in or near windows. Take care with electrical cords; look out for tripping or wet conditions, which can create electrocution hazards. Position fans so that air does not blow from one person to another. Window fans placed in exhaust mode can help draw fresh air into a room via other open windows and doors without generating strong room air currents. NOTE: For buildings with both operable windows and mechanical ventilation systems, the interactions between the two need to be carefully considered.
Some rooms have high ceiling fans. There is not enough scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness in diluting potentially contaminated air with cleaner air in the higher parts of the room. Ceiling fans do not bring additional fresh air into an indoor space and are not considered to be equivalent to fresh air ventilation. Given this uncertainty about their effect, ceiling fans should be turned off unless necessary for the thermal comfort of building occupants. Ceiling fans may result in improved air mixing, provided outdoor air is being introduced into the space.
For information on the use of portable air cleaners, please see Section 7. Portable Air Cleaners ("HEPA Air Filters").
The state is reporting a less than 1% count; which is putting us in the green. During the fall. However, this has been a rise over these past few weeks of this proposal.
Nationwide talks are being had. There are concerns that there might be a re-circulation of the virus in the winter months.
The state has now opened restaurants, bars and other eating facilities. Use your own discretion on serving. It would not be recommended to allow food in for things such as pot-lucks and gatherings. We still have to be careful about the spread because we don’t know who is or isn’t vaccinated that might be doing the preparation of the food that might be bought in.
It is always best to have natural air. We might want to consider the purchase of a screen at the front door.
Status of Rodents - This is another major concern from the CDC - Recently there have been no noticeable signs. When we were there during the clean-up there wasn’t any noticeable drippings. However, there hasn’t been any food around for over a year plus. We still have to be cautious because the facility next door was impacted with rats.
If we allow food in that might bring them back. We will post signs indicating no eating in the Fellowship. We should have this added as part of the secretary’s format to ask for members to not eat in the building. And t to stay after the meeting and help with the wiping down of the fellowship and bathrooms to assure cleanliness.
Secretaries should also announce during the announcements no food is permitted at the beginning of the meeting.
It was also recommended that when saying the Lord’s Prayer that no one holds hands.
Re-Occurance of the Virus – Many States are now open -There are concerns with people beginning to travel back and forth that might not be adhering to guidelines; this could present a problem with a re-occurrence of the spread of the virus.
Items we are bringing to the Trustees for discussion and resolution:
Have you discussed with the landlord (LL) their readiness to have use resume meetings? Is such a conversation needed?
Does the LL impose any restrictions on the meeting over and above those required by Federal, State and County (government) public health authorities in order to resume meeting?
How will the group accommodate the LL’s requirements if any? Be specific.
Are their additional voluntary suggestions coming from the LL or government for safety resuming AA meetings?
Should be group seek forgiveness or a refund for rent due or paid for the time it could not meet?
Telephone - There is not a working phone, it has been turned off. There no longer phone services offered by vendors all of the land lines have now been included in bundle packages. This is very important because this line is also used for 12 Step calls.
Lastly, we must be mindful things are changing almost hourly, so we all need to be patient and flexible.
According to our By-laws, any change in the IBF organization or procedures must be presented to the entire body for their input.
Again, the committee would like to thank everyone for their patience, input and assistance in helping the committee to be of service and further prepare for their presentation of the re-opening.