Should we cancel events?

We have a couple of event coming up soon, our AGM a week today and our Repair Cafe on the 4th April. I wondered what you are thinking about coronavirus? We are planning a ‘see how it goes’ approach and aim to issue a statement reiterating the Government guidance as that may stand. What are your thoughts?


Hi Sarah.

I would suggest following the advice given by the health authority specific for your area. Is it a place where there are known cases already? Is it more of a remote location with little risk? These are things you might want to consider in case you cannot obtain the information straight from your government. At the end of the day, each individual (yourself, the technicians and the attendees) have to balance out these considerations. I.e. the fact that you keep the Cafe open does not necessarily mean that people will still attend.

For us, we have cancelled all cafes for the foreseeable future, and have instead shifted to one-on-one consultation sessions. Hope this helps!


Thanks for raising this topic @Sarah_Maloy :slight_smile:

At Restart HQ, our priority will always be to help our communities stay safe and well. So, while we’re hoping our events can carry on for a little while, we’re preparing for the worst and working under the assumption that all/most of our own events over the next few months will need to be cancelled. @Vanessa_Ternes will be able to share more about this.

Thanks for your advice there too @Fernando_GA! I think you folks in Hong Kong have probably been dealing with this the longest, so your input is really valuable. Perhaps these lessons could be particularly interesting to the groups in Italy. @Sergio, what do you think?

Of course, we’re really aware that this is a potentially scary moment for lots of people, so we’re working on ways to ramp up our online activity and help us all stay connected and supported throughout this period :heart:.
We hope to share some of these plans soon and are always open to other ideas.

How is everyone doing so far?

Here is the email we sent yesterday to the organizers of 40 Repair Cafes in our region:

Good morning to all,
The weekend seemed to bring a new level of concern about the virus, and in the next few days we have quite a few Repair Cafes on the calendar.

We certainly recognize two things:
RCs by their nature fall within the category of social gatherings that involve a higher degree of proximate contact and interaction. For example, the passing back & forth of items brought for repair, and tools. And it’s also true that our participation and attendance skews to an older, more vulnerable population.

But I think it’s important to ask: If there is no incidence or specific concern in your community, does it make sense to cancel every community event where people gather? I don’t believe we need to respond in that way.

However, the decision is certainly yours. Organizers: please consult with your volunteers as you wish, and make your own decision in your time. Each volunteer will also make their own best decision about attending.

One simple precaution might be for repair coaches to wash their hands between repairs.

I welcome your thoughts and comments to this note–please “reply all.”


Thank you all for sharing your questions, thoughts and approaches to this!

I can only second what @james is saying: We will continue to look after our groups, locally and across the planet. Restart will remain a community throughout this all :heart:

In London, we are currently in close contact with the organizers of upcoming Restart Parties. Currently, we are leaving it up to them to decide if these events should take place. It however seems likely that our own events will be cancelled for the foreseeable future.
If a Restart Party does take place, we encourage the hosts to collect contact data of all participants. We’re currently looking into how to do this in a GDPR compliant way. This will help us to contact all event attendees should we need to. @Sarah_Maloy this might be something you could consider as well? Please get in touch if you need help or have questions :slight_smile:

Please keep the conversation going - it’s great that we all share our stories and stay in touch about this :slight_smile:


Thank you Vanessa. Our next Repair Cafe is on the 4th April. We are currently getting volunteers on board. The committee are saying we need to keep a close eye on developments and the guidance. We have our AGAM next week on the 17th which a smaller but significant number of people may attend. Thank you for raising the issue of collecting contact details and if you find out any more about the GDPR considerations I’d like to be kept up to date.

Thank you John. Our committee are keen to keep on planning our AGM and next Repair Cafe and I guess we will respond to guidance and as you say, see how the issues development in our locality too.

Thank you for your comments Fernando. I guess we need to ‘watch this space’. The Committee want events to go ahead, but as you say, will people want to attend anyway?

Thank you James. We have our AGM scheduled for next week, which will be a smallish gathering but still an opportunity for people to be in close proximity for a couple of hours. And then the Repair Cafe which is usually very busy. I am feeling quite uncertain about it all but the committee want things to go ahead. I guess we need to keep an eye on local issues and follow guidance to make sure people stay safe. And people will also choose if they want to attend.

Just to say that we’ve posted a new message to all about this - we’d love to move all conversation about this over here:

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A post was merged into an existing topic: A message from Restart about Coronavirus