As you are no doubt aware, Covid-19 (AKA Coronavirus) is causing some changes in the way we live. Current advice from the UK government is to restrict large gatherings, but it is very likely that the government will take the decision to make ‘self isolation’ of everyone over 70 compulsory. Currently they are saying ‘within weeks’ and for up to 12 weeks.
Even before this announcement, the SMEE Council had debated the effect this virus will have on meetings held in Marshall House. Although the Kemsley Room will only hold about 60 members (and therefore could not be classified as a large gathering), we are nearly all in the vulnerable age range. We also sit quite close together and these are ideal conditions for the virus to spread. Many people come to Marshall House via public transport, which is a potential source of infection. Even one case of the virus in the room would then require all of us to self-isolate for 14 days and a deep clean of Marshall House would be necessary.
With this in mind, the SMEE Council has reluctantly decided to postpone the lecture programme, rummage sales, courses and other meetings until further notice. We will offer money back to students that have pre-paid for SMEE Courses or, if they prefer, a place when we next run it.
For the moment the Workshop Group will continue to operate, but is likely to be restricted to members under 70 and in good health.
Council will still meet, but they will do this on-line via AnyMeeting. Any important decisions will be communicated vie email, the SMEE website and The Journal.
Members are reminded that they can still communicate with each other via the website ‘forum’ facility. Think of this as a temporary replacement for the Marshall House tearoom!
These are extraordinary times and call for extraordinary measures. The overriding priority is to protect our membership and keep them safe.
Stay healthy and vigilant.
[This message has been posted on behalf of the Chairman and Directors of SMEE]