We have had many inquiries and questions about health concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). We have been asked to address some of the issues and provide support for groups and Areas.
As a fellowship we have no opinion on outside issues, and it is not our role to make statements regarding health issues. We encourage NA groups to discuss the situations you are facing and the options you have to provide safe environments for those who attend your meetings. This statement has been prepared taking into account feedback from our members, and the collective experience of NA as a whole and what we have learned from how other NA service bodies are responding to the issue.
Groups may want to consider and make format changes in regard to;
· Avoiding hugs and handshakes
· Refraining from holding hands and embracing to close a meeting
· Providing meetings with hand sanitiser, extra soap, wipes etc
· Consider not offering refreshments
These are just a few thoughts; we honour each NA group’s responsibility to discuss and determine what is best for their meeting.
We have become aware that some groups are already facing issues with venues they host meetings at closing temporarily. Each group should consider their options around where and how meetings can be held and what plans they have to contact members to advise of such closures, especially at late notice.
The Australian Regional IT committee has advised of the following protocol to notify of temporary closure of meeting.
If you are part of a home group which is under a temporary closure due to the situation at hand please submit a meeting change request advising of such closures and we will update the meetings list accordingly and mark the meeting as “Temporarily suspended”. When the meeting is ready to reopen reply to the original notification you received and we will update the status. https://www.na.org.au/multi/meeting-update-form/
Large events like conventions, unity days and retreats may also be affected by measures put in place by venues, and committees may want to consider undertaking a risk assessment in deciding whether to continue, reschedule or cancel events. If you are considering attending an event please contact the service committee responsible for hosting that event or meeting or visit na.org.au as the best resource for current information for local events and meetings.
Service Bodies who conduct services under the PR banner (H&I presentations and/or PI presentations) may want to consider conducting risk assessments in deciding whether to continue providing services or suspending. Care should be taken to adhere to any restrictions provided by the facilities. We recommend that service co-ordinators maintain regular contact with facilities and with volunteers and be mindful of maintaining good relationships with current facilities or potential PR opportunities.
You may want to contact your national or local public health agencies for specific guidance regarding meetings and gatherings. We are aware of the guidelines and recommendations provided by the Department of Health https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov. The World Health Organization (WHO) may also be a resource https://www.who.int/
Regardless of group decisions each individual is responsible for their own health decisions. Recovery support can come in many forms not just in person meetings. In times like this use of the telephone and technology can help us feel connected. Information regarding Australian online meetings can be found here https://www.na.org.au/multi/online-meetings/ and international online meetings can be found here https://virtual-na.org/
We are hopeful that NA members and groups can continue to provide support for one another as we move through this current situation, and we will update this information as necessary in the coming weeks. You have our best wishes.
To see the response from NA World Services click here https://www.na.org/admin/include/spaw2/uploads/pdf/Coronavirus_web_message_12Mar.pdf
Australian Regional Service Committee Admin – 15th March 2020