Heading into winter - esp in "post-mask mandate" places

I didn’t want to reopen the thread on Covid safety because I think we’ve really got most of the best practices covered there - although perhaps we could use more on ventilation?

Here I’m more concerned with discussing how to maintain vigilance in places where the mask mandate has been lifted (like here in the UK, parts of Belgium and much of the US). Among organisers, volunteers and visitors. Especially as we heading into the winter season, when we might be tempted to host events indoors.

This FT data journalist suggests the number one reason the UK still has a plane full of people dying every day from Covid is because of mass indoor events (in combination with the lifting of the mask mandate and the waning efficacy of AZ vaccine.)

Now obviously our events are not “mass” events. But we need to consider that they can spread virus, as people remain in the same areas for extended periods of time.

Perhaps friends in the southern hemisphere can tell us about their recent winter? Did they suspend events? @Club_de_Reparadores

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I (and probably many others) was appalled to see hardly any Conservative MPs wearing a mask in packed Commons a few weeks ago. Government advice still recommended mask wearing in crowded places yet most of the Government’s own MPs, from the top down, ignored it! I wrote to my (Conservative) MP and got a very feeble response. No wonder compliance is low, even on tubes and buses in London, in my very limited experience, where I understand it’s still supposed to be mandatory. But we absolutely must do better.

I wonder if anyone has obtained a CO2 monitor in order to get an objective measure of the adequacy of ventilation. I haven’t heard of anyone doing so.

Not just Conservative…

I guess the question comes back to what Janet said. Given the mask mandate in parts of the UK (and other places) has been lifted, and we’re seeing so many of our public figures ditching masks, what’s the best way to make sure we still take the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of people catching Covid at repair events?

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As for us here in London, @London_Hosts, I see that Hackney has scheduled an event at the end of November. And @Alex_Horn has scheduled his first event in mid November in W London.

Just wondering what the current thinking is about the viability of these events? At Restart, we won’t be waiting for the PM to declare “Plan B” to take action - we are not hosting events in Camden or Brixton with the current levels of infection, hospitalisations and death.

We’ll be discussing online event options on the team, and some kind of mid-winter or Christmas party online.

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The Hackney event will be indoors in a large space with socially distanced tables and some ventilation. We’re asking people to wear masks, sanitise hands and clean equipment between guests… At the moment the infection rate in Hackney is “relatively” low but we are keeping an eye on it. If cases continue to rise we have the option to take the event online or cancel.

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We have just being discussing this in relation to the Tooting meet this Saturday. @Mike_Grahn do you have any comments?

Hi Paula ,
Yes, it would be good to see what people think:

We’re planning an indoor session next Saturday with as much mitigation as we feel people will accept. Limited number of tables with spacing. Limited number of people in room at one time. Masks to be worn where possible. Good ventilation with CO2 monitoring. We’re asking people to let us know what they are bringing so we can do some preparation and avoid potentially difficult, prolonged fixes.

How comfortable would people feel with this at current risk levels?

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SAT 13-NOV-2021 Repair Event @ the Dalgarno Trust, North Kensington - 2pm

[Near St Charles Buses: 7, 70 & 316]

The event is indoors, there are several large windows in the room (ground floor) which we can open for extra ventilation.

All welcome!

Contact - @Alex_Horn - 07773898806, wcl.fixers@gmail.com

Hi Janet

We have agreed (West London Restarters) not to hold a face to face event until at least next March. As most of our visitors tend to be older people, not only would they probably be more likely to keep away, but they would also be less likely to use a booking system, so we couldn’t regulate the flow of people. Our visitors tend to find out about our events from posters we put up in the area.

We are keen to get going when it is safe to do. Hillingdon Council are talking to us now about the Restart Project which is great news! Also we had several good online events in collaboration with Hackney Fixers earlier this year, which kept us going.

Best wishes

Rosemary

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Quite sensible @Rosemary especially given your group’s demographic.

Hackney hosted an event last weekend, and @James_Diamond said that it was just about as full as they were comfortable with. That luckily there were some people who booked who were no-shows, because other people showed up without a booking.

Now with “Omicron” it does feel a little more uncertain than ever, the idea of indoor events. Let’s monitor things and see how the next weeks develop.

Noting that Tooting is the only group in London to have events scheduled. @Mike_Grahn let us know what you are thinking, as I am defacto mentioning your events to those who ask…

We’ve even scrapped our first in-person Board meeting for two years, back to online. We’ll most likely schedule a community midwinter celebration online in January, so watch this space!

I’ve real concerns that in-person events may not be possible in January. We put the dates in the diary to maintain momentum, but will decide on the basis of conditions around the end of December.

Our indoor event in November gave us a bit of confidence (ventilation with HEPA filtration, very low CO2 levels and good distancing) and we’re looking at a larger space, but if incidence levels or virulence are high and increasing a few weeks before the date, then I’d personally not be comfortable going ahead.

It’s a case of “we’ll run the event only if we feel confident it can be done safely”.

Mike

PS - I’ve just tried to edit the Tooting 8th Jan event page to add a note that we will only go ahead if it seems safe with a decision in late December, but I no longer seem to be able to do this. If anyone has access to edit, could you please add this to the event description.

(I’ve made that change for you @Mike_Grahn - I’ll send a message to follow up to look in to why you were not able to make the edit yourself.)

Our event on Saturday was a bit short of fixing capacity, and I wonder if some people stayed at home because of the rising cases? It felt safe enough at the time as we were able to space tables out and have doors open for ventilation but I think if it had been a week later we would have cancelled. We were thinking of doing an event in January for the Dalston Library of Things launch, but now we are not going to do any more live events until late March at the earliest.