With the global situation regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus changing extremely rapidly and causing widespread concern, we have understandably received multiple queries from Stitch members about what the crisis means for hosting or attending Stitch activities, and the community more broadly.
Not only is the situation changing quickly, it varies greatly from country to country, city to city, and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Because the Stitch community covers so many members in such a wide variety of locations, we're taking the common-sense view that you will know your local situation better than we do.
That's why we are advising following the prevailing guidelines and advice as provided by the public health authorities in your location.
In the US, that advice comes from the Center for Disease Control, which provides updates and guidance on COVID-19 here.
In Australia, that advice comes from the Federal Government Department of Health, with information provided here.
For all other countries, please refer to your local authorities, or the World Health Organization website's information about coronavirus here.
Over and above any recommendations which may apply to your local area, we would also encourage all Stitch members to do what they can to help curtail the spread of the virus.
In some cases that will mean postponing or cancelling any events that involve large numbers of attendees.
In other cases, it may mean limiting your events and activities to a small number of people, and considering types of activities that are less likely to lead to transmission (e.g. instead of going to an indoor gym, consider going for a jog or a walk outdoors instead).
And, of course, the standard advice and precautions still apply, including:
Regularly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or ensuring that hand sanitsier is available as an alternative (and if you haven't yet heard that soap is more effective than hand sanitiser against viruses, you should read this article)
Avoiding shaking hands or touching
Staying home if you have a cold or flu-like symptoms (and contacting your doctor)
It's difficult to predict exactly how long the crisis will last. With that in mind, we've started looking into other ways that we may be able to extend the Stitch platform to allow members to connect for virtual get-togethers, if the worst happens and our members end up isolated for extended periods.
Stitch has always had a focus on encouraging members to get together in person instead of interacting online, so this is a fairly significant change for us, but the current situation means we all need to think outside the box for solutions to keep everyone sane while the crisis plays itself out.
Stay safe everyone, but also stay sensible and look after each other.
And please don't start hoarding toilet paper.