With the recent escalation in cases of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) both globally and within Australia, a District Crisis Management Committee has been established to provide ongoing support to members and Clubs to manage Rotary activities.
On 6 March Rotary International President, Mark Daniel Maloney advised that “The health and safety of our members are our top priorities” and I wish to reiterate this by saying all of us have an obligation to provide a safe environment while conducting Rotary activities and events.
To this end we are closely monitoring the pandemic and continuously assessing its potential impact on our operations, meetings and events in conjunction with our insurers AON.
As you know news alerts and media releases are happening daily and information is changing rapidly so as your District Governor, I can but offer advice, encouragement and support.  In short whether to cancel or postpone meetings or Rotary-related events is a Club decision and it needs to take into account the following:
  • Our duty of care to members and families (many of whom are in the higher risk category)
  • Our duty of care to the public (we need to be seen as a responsible organisation and meeting public expectations)
  • Our obligations under State and Federal law
  • The advice of our insurers.
From a risk management perspective, the age demographic of Rotarians and the communities we serve is of primary importance; of secondary importance are the commercial aspects that comes with the cancellation of planned Rotary events.
While things are changing rapidly and following advice from AON (Rotary Insurance) and SA Heath (click this link) please also take into account the following when considering whether to cancel club events or meetings:
  • There is currently a ban on larger gatherings of 100 indoors and 500 outdoors
  • Smaller external events are of less risk but we need to consider members undertaking these as well as the public expectation that we not proceed if others are endangered 
  • Bunnings have deferred all community sausage sizzle events – they have announced they wish to donate to respective organisation – please check with them locally
  • Our public image must be that of a responsible organisation, whose activities don’t expose the general public or ourselves to unnecessary risk.  There is now a need for Social Distancing
  • Internal events where people mix closely are more conducive to transmission of the virus and should be avoided.
To further assist your decision making, please consider the following examples:
  • Our District Conference along with all others in Australia & NZ have been cancelled and now the international Conference in Honolulu
  • The Science & Engineering Challenge events have been postponed
  • A number of Clubs in the District have suspended their meetings for the next month.  The Rotary Club of Adelaide are considering an online format of guest speakers that may be made available to other Clubs
  • RYPEN for D9500, due end of March, has been deferred
  • Our Rotaract Clubs are mostly meeting on line.
I strongly recommend all Clubs consider alternative ways of connecting and conducting meetings perhaps utilising electronic media. This may be an opportunity to use Zoom On-line Communications or others such as skype or facetime within your own club and in this regard support and training is available from the District (speak to Communication Chair Graham Fussen).

Now is a great time to enhance our electronic communication such as Club bulletins, websites and social media such as Facebook.  We are currently looking at another online Club where we can meet and chat.
Smaller groups for meetings will also reduce the risk and help maintain connection, and one suggestion is to introduce the old “Fire Side Chat” concept. I cannot over emphasize how important it is to care for one another yet also remain connected with each other during this period of “social distancing.”
Please remember this year’s Theme is Rotary Connects the World.  I believe that if we are innovative we can continue to serve our community and remain connected with Rotary, through considering alternative methods of engagement during these uncertain and difficult times.
As new advice emerges, I will ensure you are kept up to date providing information as it comes to hand. In the meantime, thank you for your vigilance and I hope that you and your family remain healthy and safe.
Yours in Rotary,