Reopening Plan feedback

We’re working to get back to 24/7 (or, maybe, 20/7 to give some settling time for the auld folks).

Help us work out how to let all members be safe, obey the law, be excellent, and build cool stuff.

Questions that have been emailed to us:

  • When will the wider group be able to book time slots?
  • How is having tiered access to the calendar (for a non tired membership fee structure) making the space more safe and/or compliant with regulations?
  • How/why would compliance change if all members were given access to the calendar to book slots?
  • Given the space is open and procedure is in place for safe and compliant operation why are members not able to book being charged membership? Why are these memberships not put on hold as a default (without risk of losing access once it is re-opened) and then have the option to donate their fees.
  • Only members with access should be charged a membership fees if the space is open in any capacity. Unless they choose to donate their fees as charity. Membership fees for those without access should be put on hold and commence the day that they choose or are able to book timeslots.

These are the thoughts of Flip, private individual, not speaking for the board:

  1. Hope this is ASAP with expanded hours.
  2. Two things: It’s an act of grace by the community, but also fewer unique individuals means less cross-cluster vectors for transmission (a hippie passing it to a dweeb). That last one is a big deal: our audience is unusually diverse in some notable ways (and of course not in others).
  3. I’m in favor of giving people facing hardship priority but not exclusive access. (Also, we don’t ask any questions beyond “do you have hardship?”. Maybe we should use a softer term that allows a spectrum from “I’m in dire straits” to “Yeah I’ll make rent, no problem, but my side business is going to crumble if I can’t get in there at all” to “I have cabin fever” or “I just need a drill press for ten minutes”.
  4. and 5. We’re suspending memberships for anyone who asks, but will definitely give priority for people who stick with it. As mentioned, we’re letting everybody make their own definition of hardship.

The key decision making factor for me is balanciing the potential for harm by amplifying the spread of the disease vs the potential for harm by denying use to people whose well-being depends on the space. By the strict definition of “essential business”, the PPE production passes but the emotional/economical hardship doesn’t. The government went straight from essential business to 25% capacity, but authoritative sources and experts we consulted counseled for being more gradual. Not only is the testing rate extremely low, it was just revealed that the testing numbers were artificially inflated (Texas was reporting antibody tests lumped in with presence tests).

The hours limitation was again to take it a little easier on our impact, but as well a large part of it was to figure out the right procedures and see if folks would follow them. Our culture is changing from one with no structure, optional rules, inconsistent enforcement, and little expectation of help from the members, to one where we are a workable community. I’m super glad to see people stepping up to help write out the sanitization procedures, put all the cleaning equipment in place, etc. That takes time and effort, and it takes support from us. I can definitely say that part of the delay is because the core volunteers have been spending too much effort responding to small vocal parts of our community, at the expense of its whole — and the bulk of that lapse falls to me as director of community.

The procedures are now in place and the core volunteers have had a good eye-opening about where our focus needs to be — on the overwhelming majority of our members, who want no fuss, will give people in hardship grace but also legitimately want to use the space we love, are helping out to their ability, and who are sticking with us while we get it right and sometimes wrong.