Addressing the Possibility of Reopening the Bay Club
by Bartholomew Clark, SBCA President
For most of the past year, the Covid-19 virus has run wild in the US population. We are now at risk for more virulent and/or communicable mutations of the virus (a.k.a, “variants”). This risk is based upon the math: the more opportunities the virus has to replicate, the more variants are produced. Not all variants are worse than the original, but some are. More dangerous variants occur when there are more mutations. Right now, we don’t know to what extent current vaccines can protect us from these emerging mutations.
Herd immunity develops in a population once enough people have been vaccinated; epidemiologists typically cite 70 to 80 percent as the goal. Allowing unvaccinated people to contract the virus does not create herd immunity, it just makes more people sick and increases spread. It is not yet known to what extent vaccinated people can contract an asymptomatic case and walk around feeling fine while functioning as spreaders. That is why we all must continue to practice personal responsibility. Wearing masks and social distancing will remain necessary even after getting both shots of Pfizer or Moderna or one shot of a single-dose vaccine soon to hit the market.
Responsive, Responsible, and Reasonable
The Board continues to receive overtures from members wondering when a decision to reopen the Bay Club can and will be made. Responding to such members’ questions raises the challenge found in aiming at several moving targets. We first must estimate what the changing landscape will present to us in the coming months, vis-à-vis the efficacy of available vaccines in protecting against emerging viral variations while hoping that improvements in vaccines will keep pace with them.
Given our responsibility to act in the best interests of SBCA, the Board is tasked to project what a possible reopening might look like. Will we reopen the Club only for certain activities? Different areas of the Club on different days? How should we allocate times and places, to how many people at a time in given areas, and for how long? Two things that we do know are: 1) The Club’s environment upon a potential reopening during Covid-19 would not, and cannot, resemble what it was like before; and 2) Reopening under such extraordinary circumstances would be expensive and not without risk.
Next, there are the steps that must be taken to minimize the possibility of Covid-19 transmission during and between uses. For example, let’s say we open the fitness workout area to one person at a time for 30 minutes per session, appointments only. Additional staff, safety equipment, supplies and time between uses will be necessary to sanitize surfaces and more. Time intervals of another 30 minutes each may be needed to allow for the new HVAC system to perform sufficient filtration, ultraviolet light “scrubbing” and air exchange before the next user can more safely enter the area. All this would be for just one activity type. Such processes may require, at a minimum, that everyone entering the Bay Club 1) has his/her temperature taken, 2) wears a mask at all times during the visit, and 3) provides documented proof of having been fully vaccinated. Are we legally allowed to impose such requirements on members or visitors?
As we address these complicated challenges, please be assured that your SBCA Board will endeavor to do what is right and reasonable in protecting the interests of SBCA and its members. Also, please recognize that a reasonable reopening may not be feasible in the near future. Such is life in the time of Covid-19.