Practice These Principles
Living the Spiritual Disciplines and Virtues in 12-Step Recovery

AA Meetings & Coronavirus: Returning to the Rooms  06/07/20

A.A.’s General Service Office (GSO) guidelines regarding meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic remain the same as those in its 03/09/20 Coronavirus update, namely, that it is up to each individual group to decide how to respond in the overall interest of the group.

As the lockdowns are lifted throughout the country, the decision before us is when and how to return to in-person meetings. Regional AA groups have offered suggestions for group consideration, and each group may wish to take them into account for its own area.

Below is a set of guidelines a group may wish to consider to make a Group Conscience decision in keeping with Tradition Two. It is shared here to contribute to the pool of ideas flowing from group experience.

                                        X Group of Alcoholics Anonymous

        Group Conscience Considerations Re: Returning to In-Person Meetings

There are three basic options: A. To resume in-person meetings as of a given date; B. To continue virtual meetings for a determinate period; C. To return to in-person meetings in conjunction with virtual meetings for a determinate period. Again, these options depend on local area considerations and the needs of the specific group. With that in mind, here are some suggested guidelines for each.

A. To resume in-person meetings as of a given date (e.g., the next meeting) and for
    a determinate period (e.g., 30 days)

1. That persons who believe they may have symptoms of the virus do not attend
    meetings and if present voluntarily agree to leave. Main symptoms are:

     a. Fever
     b. Cough
     c. Shortness of breath

2. That persons who are otherwise sick do not attend meetings and if present
    voluntarily agree to leave

3. That every attendee wear a mask

4. That a notice re: points 1 and 3 be posted at the entrance door

5. That if the group is known to be have been exposed, all attendees be immediately
    advised via phone and the proper health officials notified as per regional AA office

6. That the group consider suspending in-person meetings and returning to virtual
    meetings temporarily (e.g., for a 14-day period)

7. That the following additional safety measures be implemented:

     a. That a small supply of masks be kept to provide one to attendee who, unaware of
         mask-wearing requirement, didn’t bring one, and who will be advised to do so next

     b. That set up and the handling of all material be done by a single person who sanitizes
         his or her hands before and after

     c. That all table and other pertinent surfaces be sanitized before the meeting

     d. That free hand-sanitizing dispensers and rolls of paper towels be made available

     e. That chairs be spaced 6 feet apart

     f. That hospitality not be resumed (i.e., not making coffee or bringing in food)

     g. That attendees abstain from shaking hands or giving hugs and that as much as
         possible fellowshipping be done before and after the meeting

     h. That 7th tradition basket not be passed around but brought by one person to each

     i. That all stay in place for the closing prayer and not hold hands

     j. That names and phone numbers of group members be collected on a voluntary basis
         in the event it’s necessary to contact them

     k. That one person volunteer for set up and related tasks above

      l. That attendees be advised they are welcome to bring their own copy of the book in
         meetings which use Big Book, 12&12, and other AA literature (books become
         disinfected by themselves within 24-48 hours after use)

8. That the above guidelines be read at the start of each meeting in order for all attendees
    to be aware of them and for everyone to be assured that the group is taking the
    necessary precautions to conduct meetings in a safe and responsible manner

9. That the issue be revisited at the end of the period to decide which of these measures
    may be continued, modified, or ended 

B. To continue virtual meetings for a determinate period (e.g., 30 days)

1. As with option A, considerations depend on local conditions

C. To return to in-person meetings in conjunction with virtual meetings for a determinate
     period (e.g., 30 days)

1. Virtual meetings have been joined by AAs who are not members of the particular group
    sponsoring them and who may not live in the same area. This measure would be for a
    transitional period to allow those AAs and others who may not be willing or able to
    attend in-person meetings to make alternate arrangements

                                               Applicable Traditions

Tradition One:
“Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.”

Tradition Two:
“For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”

Tradition Four:
“Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.”

                                              Applicable Principles

                                              The Virtue of Wisdom