Guidelines For Re-Opening Meetings

(Physical/ Face to Face)

Furnished by Area 91 (AA Saskatchewan)

Before you begin your meeting, please ensure the following is met:

  • Contact your Facility, Church Diocese, or Local Contact to discuss the re-opening of your meeting and agree to a mutual date for re-opening. There are some facilities (community centres) that are not allowed to re-open because they may be classified to be in Part II of Phase 4.

Once your meeting has a date set for re-opening, please follow the guidelines that have been established by the Government of Saskatchewan’s Re-opening plan:

  • Gatherings up to 30 people, providing social distancing of two metres can be maintained between each individual household.
    • This may be difficult considering that some meetings take place in smaller rooms. Set up your chairs to the capacity of the room given that there is at least 6ft of space between each chair.
    • Your groups will require Greeters to count the number of people coming in and to remind them to use the proper sanitizer.
  • If your group has the tendency to be a larger group, and your facility has a secondary room to provide the option to safely support larger groupings of individuals – and where seating area allows adequate physical distancing – multiple groups of 30 are permitted.  Other groups of 30 must be arranged in the same way and spaced from other groups by a minimum of five metres.
  • Where possible, registration of participants is encouraged to effectively manage the number of individuals attending. Registration should be facilitated to discourage members from common-use items such as pens and pencils.
    • This also will help groups when it comes to contact tracing, should a member become ill and test positive for COVID-19
    • Encourage your members to carry their own pen to register.
  • Use visual cues to support physical distancing, implement one-way traffic flow to promote physical distancing (i.e. enter through one door and exit through another).
  • Members who are medically vulnerable are strongly encouraged to delay their return to meetings and continue to participate in services online, where possible.
  • Members who are required to stay home if sick or symptomatic.
  • Some facilities and churches will be required to identify measures by which entry and exit is managed to ensure physical distancing is maintained.
  • Promote physical distancing by marking the directional flow of people through buildings and areas. Mark seating areas and post visual reminders to observe physical distancing.
  • Members from the same household may be seated together and should remain in place once they are seated.
  • Seating must be arranged so that physical distancing can be observed at all times. Consideration must be given to how people enter and exit other seating areas, where a minimum of two metres must be maintained between household groups.
  • Dismissal of gatherings should be done in a way that supports physical distancing.
    • This means that there will be no hand holding, hand shaking, or fellowship hugs are allowed.
  • All social events (held indoors) should be postponed for the immediate future.
  • Passing of Tradition 7 baskets will not be permitted. Alternatives are encouraged, such as online giving options or a depository to accept offerings.
    • Have members provide Tradition 7 when they arrive or leave.
  • Meeting readings (i.e.: How it Works, 12 Traditions, Daily Reflections, etc.) that cannot be disinfected between uses should not be distributed. If these documents cannot be disinfected, the meeting must determine the means by which they can be discarded after use to prevent contamination, such as paper bulletins or other single-use materials.
  • Books and other common-use items should be removed from use, if possible. Projecting materials or distribution of single-use materials can be considered. Books or items that can’t be disinfected should be removed and held for 72 hours before being brought back into use.
    • If your group hands out the Big Book to newcomers, that is still ok, they just can’t bring it back.
  • All Food and beverage service must be suspended at this time.

Guidelines for Hygiene and Cleaning

As part of the return to service, our meetings will be required to enhance cleaning and disinfection practices.

  • Review cleaning and disinfection practices set by the Ministry of Health, Government of Saskatchewan).
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection of commonly contacted areas, including seating areas, doorknobs, handles, ceremonial objects, elevator buttons, railings and light switches.
  • Encourage everyone to practicing proper hand hygiene and coughing/sneezing etiquette, including:
  • Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer when hands are not visibly dirty, and handwashing isn’t available.
  • Use hand sanitizer of least 70 per cent alcohol that is approved by Health Canada (DIN and NPN number).
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes.
  • Wearing masks is an option for groups, if members decide to wear a mask they may do so if they wish.
  • Manage access to washrooms in a way to promote social distancing and increase cleaning and disinfection. Ensure washrooms are always well stocked with liquid soap and paper towels, and that warm running water is available.
  • Garbage bins should be emptied frequently.
  • Place an alcohol-based hand sanitizer in dispensers or provide hand washing stations near doors and other high-traffic areas.

We understand this may be a lot of ‘rules’ that are being set out, but they are here for the safety and well being of our members. Tradition One states “The common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends on AA unity.”, this requires our fellowship to come together and support each other through our slow return to in-person meetings. 

Have open discussions with your GSRs and Alt GSRs to ensure that the proper message gets out; and if challenges come head, we can work together to make our meetings safe again and bring  back our great ‘fellowship hugs’.