Greetings to the Tyger Populace,
I have returned from Birka and was pleased to see the atmosphere there was one of joy, camaraderie, and courtesy for each other. Whether masked or not, I witnessed the populace being respectful of each other and of the volunteers and staff running the event. Thank you to everyone who made the return to Birka a wonderful experience.
It is time to look forward to what is next for the Kingdom. As I started to research and plan strategy meetings for the East’s Spring COVID Policy, news from the Society arrived.
I received word from the Society Seneschal last night that our existing masking variance (expiring on March 1, 2023) will not be extended. Nor will any additional variances be granted relating to COVID/masking precautions. It is the opinion of the Society Seneschal and the Society President that it is time to leave such decisions to state and local authorities. This applies to all Kingdoms.
As this decision is being made at the Society level, I have no authority to override or change part of the updated policy.
Effective March 1, 2023, the Kingdom COVID Variance will expire, and masking will not be required at any event, practice, or official gathering. As always, local legal jurisdiction comes first; if local authorities or site owners require masking of attendees, then all SCA attendees must wear masks.
I share this information now, as I realize it may affect plans for coming events and wanted everyone to have as much time as possible to process and make decisions.
How can we, as a populace, help to protect each other?
- Absolutely do not attend an event / practice / gathering if you are experiencing any symptoms of illness. This is vital. Prior to the start of the pandemic, we had a culture of “can’t miss seeing person X, award X, or activity X.” I am asking that we actively change that culture going forward. With photographers being more prevalent, and videographers around, we can live vicariously through photos and videos of moments that are important. Is it the best? No, of course not. Is it the right thing to do? Absolutely.
- When available, please consider taking a rapid test prior to attending an event. While this isn’t a failsafe, it can help recognize when you are positive and asymptomatic.
- Consider getting your vaccinations if you are able to do so. Get your boosters. Protect yourself. Help protect those around you.
- If event budgets allow, or group funds permit, consider renting or building air purifiers for small spaces to help filter air. Sample instructions for DIY Cori-Rosenthal Filters can be found here: https://cleanaircrew.org/box-fan-filters/ though the internet has all kinds of resources.
But Audrye, what about masks?
Per Society, we cannot require masking of any kind beginning March 1, 2023 unless the local authorities (or site location) require it. With that in mind, the Kingdom will continue to provide masks for events on the EK Calendar for the Stewards / Seneschals who request them for the immediate future. (Please use the form located here: https://forms.gle/pHDxa82t5miozKQ36 )
As you begin working through bids for your local (or Kingdom) events, please begin adding in expenses for masks should your local group desire that. I recommend providing KN95 masks for events and making them available for those who wish to use them. If you are having trouble obtaining KN95s, please let me know and we’ll figure it out.
All events taking place in a local jurisdiction or at a site that requires masks must make sure the event listing and other communication state this clearly. Bids for Kingdom events and RPs must make this clear in the bid package.
The Kingdom will stop paying for masks directly at a later date once it has been discussed internally, and give ample notification of the date so groups are able to prepare.
I want to personally thank everyone for their continued courtesy to each other. I recognize that the pandemic is not over, and COVID is here to stay. Finding balance in a Kingdom spanning over 2 million square miles and approximately 3000 paid members (as of December 2022) is delicate at best. Let’s work together to provide spaces which welcome all.
Magistra Audrye Beneyt
East Kingdom Seneschal
**Should you have questions or concerns regarding the Society’s Decision, please reach out to appropriately to email@example.com as this was not a decision made by the East Kingdom.**