On May 28, the Fitchburg Serenity Club Board met to discuss the topic of facial coverings as part of the clubhouse guidelines as our Dane County community reopens. This special meeting was called based on recent feedback received from members. We care very much about ALL our members, and we wanted to have a thoughtful, intentional discussion on this particular topic. The board decided to maintain its current position of recommending, not requiring, facial coverings at FSC.
Signage regarding guidelines is posted at the entrance and throughout the clubhouse (photo above). Language in the full-length version of the guidelines has been updated to specify the following: “Facial Coverings: Are recommended (optional) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As supplies permit, we will provide disposable masks and hand sanitizer at the FSC entrance for use as desired by members and attenders.” Previously, this had not included the word “recommended”, but simply indicated that masks and gloves were not required.
The board’s decision both last night and prior about guidelines is based on what we infer from CDC and Dane County guidelines about prevention of COVID-19. At this link, for individual community members, the CDC “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”
The Forward Dane plan outlined by Madison & Dane County Public Health asks individual community members to “Follow public health recommendations and population-level prevention strategies, such as maintaining physical distancing and wearing cloth face coverings.”
Crystal clear, right? For individual community members. What’s far less clear is whether community organizations like FSC should require anyone who enters the building to wear facial coverings. We know that we are not equipped to enforce such a policy while our local government does not mandate the wearing of facial coverings. If Wisconsin were to become like one of the five states currently requiring masks in public, we would have a different discussion.
Consider that FSC is not staffed like a healthcare operation or a local business to enforce wearing facial coverings, nor do we believe we could or should. As just one example, what would we say to a newcomer entering the building not wearing a mask, but desperately needing their first meeting?
The FSC Board is also guided by our purview as a clubhouse. We are a facility in which 12-Step recovery meetings take place, not a meeting group. Individual meeting groups wanting to use the space have a number of options for in-person meetings if they choose to, including the following:
- Take a group conscience vote within your individual meeting to determine if masks will be required in that meeting. You can do this daily or as a way of operating the meeting for the time being.
- Start a mask-only meeting at the clubhouse (FSC has the space available and would gladly publicize this meeting on our FSC meeting schedule).
- Gather outside at any number of provided seating areas (picnic tables, firepit, other provided outdoor seating on the lower grounds of the clubhouse)
- Start a “hybrid” meeting where those meeting in person and those meeting on Zoom can be accommodated together. We are happy to accommodate hybrid meetings if such a need arises by a meeting group.
If you have questions, you can contact the board at any time by approaching an individual board member or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.