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Covid-19 AZC Response

Covid-19 and the Auckland Zen Centre: Update 29 May 2020

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2.

However, there are still significant restrictions on religious gatherings. No more than 100 people came come together at a religious gathering and at gatherings 1 metre physical distancing is still required. These limits are in place because religious gatherings are considered to have a very high risk of transmitting COVID-19. This means we need to change how we come together for sittings and ceremonies at the Centre. 

Basic guidelines for staff, customers and members using or visiting the Centre at Level 2 :

  • You shouldn’t visit the Centre if you have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • You shouldn’t visit the Centre if you need to be in isolation for any reason.
  • When at the Centre keep at least 1 metre apart from each other.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often and practice good COVID hygiene.

At Alert Level 2 the Centre will ensure that:

  • Frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected.
  • Soap and paper towels provided in the bathrooms and kitchen for hand washing and drying.
  • Hand sanitiser is provided in the foyer for people coming in.
  • Up-to-date health advice is provided around the Centre.
  • Contact-tracing details are recorded for everyone using the Centre.

Additional measures in place for sitting together during Level 2:

Physical distancing:

  • Cushions in the zendo and dokusan room placed 1 m apart.

Reducing transmission risk: 

  • Use of robes discontinued.

  • Standing bows only (no prostrations).

Sharing food and drinks:

  • No reuse of water cups- all used cups washed daily  
  • Tea after sittings OK but only served food (no shared food)

  • No shared meals (breakfast and lunches are BYO)

At Alert Levels 3 and 4, the Centre is closed, in line with Government requirements.

The focus for staff and Trustees at Alert Levels 3 and 4 is on providing ongoing support for Sangha through on-line content, Facebook, regular email updates and individual contact by phone or Skype.

Streamed sittings: Sensei and Sangha members continue to hold all scheduled sittings (separately, each at home) and will be streaming all sittings on Mixlr. Anyone with internet access can click on the Mixlr link at the scheduled time to hear the sitting.

Skype dokusan: Sensei is offering weekly for any Auckland members. This is in addition to the regular Wednesday Skype dokusan for out-of-Auckland Sangha, which will continue. Members can email Sensei to request a dokusan time.

Zoom discussion times: Regular Zoom discussion times are announced in the email update each week. Zoom Book nights offer another chance for Sangha to get together.

At Alert Levels 3 & 4 we also 

  • Encourage the use of on-line dharma resources (e.g. Tricycle podcasts)

  • Will activate the Kannon network to support anyone in self-isolation at home who can not access groceries or medicines.

At all Alert Levels we closely follow the Government guidelines for public gatherings and especially the guidelines for religious communities.