The Intercounty Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (IFAA), our Intergroup | Central Office has been dedicated to providing updated and accurate meeting information and best practices as a result of the move from in person to remote meetings due to the Shelter-in-Place Orders issued in San Francisco and Marin. We are fortunate that so many members stepped up to help and allowed us to be 100% operational since day one of the Stay Home Order. We will continue to support our local members and the groups in San Francisco and Marin to the best of our ability. Along those lines, we are now looking ahead at the Social Distancing requirements of our local authorities and how they will impact our fellowship and its ability to meet in person. As we’ve seen, our members have been able to pivot once during this global pandemic and we hope to be able to do so again, with as much grace as we can muster and in support of our common welfare.
As many of you know, the service structure in Alcoholics Anonymous places the individual groups at the highest level of service, and as such, our Ninth Tradition Service Committees, including IFAA, do not direct what each autonomous group can or cannot do. Our role is to provide the community with services that the individual groups cannot readily provide for themselves, giving space to the groups to focus on their primary purpose of carrying the message to the still suffering alcoholic.
Therefore, it is important to understand that the information presented is not a directive, but rather a tool for groups to use in protecting the health and safety of everyone. As members of Alcoholics Anonymous we have a vested interest in securing the fellowship from the possibilities of litigation or public controversy. Though our personal positions regarding the guidelines may differ, it is our hope that we work collectively in putting our common welfare first.
Please note that the IFAA service area includes both San Francisco and Marin and that local guidelines and protocols vary by county. Additionally, there are State guidelines, which by some measures appear to be less restrictive than those of our two counties, and quite likely individual host facility guidelines, which may be more restrictive. As more information becomes available, we will do our best to share additional documentation with you.
It is our understanding that Public Health Officers in counties that observe the SIP order will have the right to request, observe, and where violations occur, cite our meetings, or the facility they are held in, ultimately leading to the possibility of fines. If a meeting is not in compliance with the mandated Social Distancing Protocol and issued a citation or fine, the Intercounty Fellowship of AA will not be financially responsible nor be held liable for any and all fines as a result of a group’s non- compliance of the Public Health Order and Social Distancing Protocol. Financial responsibility and liability will fall to the individual group as well as the facility or meeting location.
Further, please be aware that our host facilities may require meetings to sign a liability waiver stating the facility will not be held liable for any COVID-19 related illness. Further, some host facilities may not be ready to welcome groups back in or may do so at their own discretion. It is imperative to begin a dialog with your meeting facility as soon as you begin to consider meeting again as that will assist you with an informed group conscience.
We also want to remind the groups who have liability insurance certificates through IFAA that the policy covers only the meeting space listed on our schedules and DOES NOT cover Coronavirus. Groups must be prepared to handle liability for any claims that arise as a result of the Coronavirus or lack of compliance with standing public health guidelines.
IFAA is dedicated to assisting the groups in San Francisco and Marin safely return to meeting while limiting the risk of public health, controversy, liability, and the protection of our members and fellowship as a whole. We will continue to monitor the progression and re-opening of our two counties and changes to Public Health Orders. As new information is released we will update the groups and make amendments to our recommendations as needed. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through these unprecedented times.