The General Service Office in New York has sent out the letter below providing advice to groups with regards to the COVID-19 virus. Please review and discuss with your groups.
The General Service Office (G.S.O.) has been receiving inquiries about how groups should respond to the COVID-19 (coronavirus). Groups and members are concerned about health and safety issues, and are looking for guidance on how to address this question.
The General Service Office is a repository of shared group experience and functions as a resource center for A.A. members and groups who are looking for the shared experience of the Fellowship. Providing guidance on health issues is outside the scope of the A.A. sharing that G.S.O. offers. However, we might suggest contacting your national, state/provincial and local health authorities for appropriate information.
We do have some general experience to share regarding how some groups and members have begun to address this issue. Our collected experience suggests that talking about these issues before they arise can help a group be prepared to address them in a sensible and helpful manner and allow the group to continue keeping the focus on our common welfare and primary purpose.
Some groups have discussed making changes to customs at their meetings. Some examples have included: avoiding shaking hands and handholding; making sure meeting hospitality tables are sanitary; or suspending food hospitality for the time being. Regardless of group decisions, each individual is responsible for their own health decisions.
Some groups have considered contingency plans in case the group is temporarily unable to meet in person. Plans have included: creating contact lists and keeping in touch by phone, email or social media; meeting by phone or online. Providing members information for the A.A. Online Intergroup (www.aa-intergroup.org) may serve as an additional helpful resource. If a group isn’t holding its regular meetings, they may want to communicate this to local A.A. resources, such as the district, area and intergroup or central office.
G.S.O. has received inquiries about the A.A. events it coordinates throughout the year. Visit www.aa.org for up-to-date information regarding G.S.O./A.A.W.S. coordinated events. Please be assured that the health and safety of attendees is a priority. G.S.O. is closely monitoring relevant health advisories regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus).
We hope this limited sharing is helpful.