Straight Talk about Covid Part II
I am fully vaccinated and boosted and think that everyone should also be. If you are reading this and are not, please go do so right now because from my experience I can say that it’s easy and safe. From all appearances the benefits of the covid vaccine appear to be that when you get covid, your symptoms are more likely to be mild and manageable at home. This is a great benefit and I highly encourage you to choose to protect yourself by being vaccinated and boosted.
I can also say that It appears that every person I know of in recent years who has gotten covid was fully vaccinated and had contracted it from being exposed to other fully vaccinated and boosted people who also got it from other fully vaccinated and boosted individuals. I think there are very few people in our social circles and in the general at-large larping and gaming community who have not been vaccinated and boosted. I am not aware of anyone who is unvaccinated who is just waiting on the sidelines to be let in. I do not believe that many people at all will fall under this category and I would be surprised if we came across more than a couple in a year if even that. I can understand that there is an argument that many who are unvaccinated have some gross traits, including being racist, sexist, homophobic, and are just overall bigoted towards people we love and care about in our communities. People have expressed to me that the vaccine mandate policy acts as a way to keep them out. What I cannot agree with is that we should blanket discriminate against all of those who are unvaccinated because of this stereotype. I think there are likely plenty of racists and bigots who are vaccinated and I think that some people who are unvaccinated do in fact love and care about all the same people as you and I do. Racist and bigoted people need to be removed and WILL be removed from our community because they are racists and bigots and not because of their vaccination status.
Effective Policies Should Continue
When it comes to policy items, the following policies we employ feel like they are actively reducing risk in the community:
Stay home if you feel sick!
On site temperature checks
Covid Risk Questionnaire form
Quickly dealing with symptoms emerging at game.
We are being more mindful about our health and encouraging one another to stay home if feeling the slightest bit under the weather. As much as some might like to think otherwise, we did not do this much pre covid, but we do it a lot now. If you don't feel great, just stay home! We have been normalizing this mantra and behavior as a community and that helps reduce threat.
The safety checks and waivers are a method of risk prevention that is real and tangible. If you have a fever, then you have something, maybe a flu, maybe covid, regardless you go home. You answer some questions on our covid waver and if you answer in a fashion that shows that you have a reasonable risk, you provide a negative covid test result or go home. You come down with abnormal sniffles and a cough during the event and we send you home right away with a covid test.
An added side effect to the above policies is that far less people have reported larp-plague after an event. By trying to prevent covid with these policies we have reduced the number of people who are just hanging around with us and giving us the normal flu at game.
These are policies that should stick around either long term or perhaps permanently because they display a very real effect and clear value.
The alterations to the policy
The changes that our safety team put forward, I feel are reasonable to make, which is why I approved and encouraged them in the first place. You can be assured that If I felt they would put our players at a greater risk or a risk that did not already exist fully without the change that I would have reconsidered.
That being said, based on the commentary that we have received, I spoke at length with the officers and Taylor, and I have agreed to re-edit the edit to the policy. While my desire is to stop barring unvaccinated players to the game solely based on their vaccination status, we will instead do this on a case by case basis, assessing the reasons why they have not chosen to be vaccinated. The re-edited edit will basically say that any unvaccinated player that wishes to attend must first go through an assessment process with the organization's director. I will personally be assessing each case, taking advisement from the officers, and making a determination if their reasons still support the ideals of our community standards and interest of personal and organization safety. The assessment will include feeling out the players compatibility with our community, inquiring about the players risk factors and identifying if the player has recovered from covid 19 in the past. In addition to the assessment, any unvaccinated player who is allowed to attend will also be required to provide a negative covid test just prior to the event.
Covid is invisible. You cannot see it with your eyes and it can travel in both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The most effective tools in preventing its spread are the above outlined policies related to temperature checks, entry questionnaire forms and required rapid tests for symptoms shown at the site. These are the policies that I feel have an effect to protect the community, which is why those are the policies we are looking to continue with.
I will also emphasize again the importance of choosing to get the covid vaccination. It plays an important role in mitigating severe outcomes. While vaccination or post infection immunity do not confer significant protections against infection, they do confer significant protection against hospitalizations, severe illness, and death.
I trust everyone to protect themselves in any way they feel is necessary if they feel uncomfortable. There are several additional things that can be done to help with your comfort level such as properly masking and choosing to use our orange headband system by wearing an orange headband to signal to all other players to give you more space than normal due to your concern.
We all genuinely desire safety for the community. Different people can have different views on how that safety is achieved, which methods are effective or acceptable or which methods are not effective or acceptable.
Navigating these years with covid has been difficult for all of us, myself included. As a social community leader, a business owner, and as a person, it has never been simple to come to any decisions. I understand some of you may feel that I do not listen or that I am dismissive of your feelings. If some of you feel this way, then I apologize for failing you in that regard. I assure you that your feelings are always taken into consideration, even if you may not always like the exact answer that is given.