March 20, 2021
Dear Marshall Chess Club Member:
After a year literally unlike any other, we are writing to offer what will hopefully come as a cause for some hope and celebration. We ask that you read the following document in its entirety to ensure the greatest clarity.
Effective Thursday, April 15, 2021, we will be reopening the club in a limited capacity.
Naturally, the conditions of the reopening will be met with a variety of responses, but we’d like to carefully explain how we arrived at our decision so that our members can fully understand the reasoning behind it. These temporary stipulations (and the Board's reasoning behind them) are laid out below. Please understand that these guidelines were voted on by the full Board of Governors and passed unanimously.
Our first and foremost priority is and always has been the safety and well-being of our members and of our staff. The global medical community concurs that the strongest protection from contracting and spreading COVID-19 is vaccination.
For the time being, the club will only be open to vaccinated members.
No unvaccinated person (staff included) is permitted on the Club premises. After many rounds of discussions, and in conjunction with the CDC guidelines issued on March 8th
, the Board concluded that the positives of opening only for vaccinated members at this time far outweighed the risks involved with opening the club to all players.
Our sincere desire lies in ensuring the safety of the Club for the greatest number of people, and at this time we believe that guaranteeing an environment exclusively for vaccinated people is the most prudent way to begin the transition back to business as usual. The benefit of opening even with tight restrictions is one we believe outweighs the alternative of waiting until we feel confident to open for all members. It is impossible to anticipate when, exactly, that will be, but with our plan, at least, we can begin to build momentum toward full reopening. When that time seems right, we will be in an excellent position to hit the ground running.
Meanwhile, we will adhere to social distancing protocols and will require players to wear masks and to sanitize chess equipment. We’ve published the complete reopening plan on our website.
BEING APPROVED TO RETURN
Returning to the club will require members to upload their vaccine cards to our secure and private vaccine portal
. After your card is uploaded, it will be reviewed, and if it is approved you will receive a confirmation email. This email will indicate the date on which you are permitted to register for tournaments. You must have received your final vaccination shot two weeks before playing, as per CDC protocol
In addition to on-site tournaments, members may also visit the club for casual play, study, and private lessons (provided the instructor is likewise vaccinated) during opening hours. One must email the staff in advance to book a time so that we can regulate the number of persons in the Club. All classes, along with additional regular tournaments, will remain online until further notice.
MEMBERSHIP CLOCKS & LOOKING FORWARD
Undoubtedly you are aware that the Board indefinitely paused all memberships when the Club closed on 12 March 2020. Even if you have renewed your membership during that time, we have decided that the Club will not immediately reactivate membership clocks. We understand that many people will have been unable to receive a vaccine by the time of reopening, while others will choose not to be vaccinated. As such, the Board is still determining the best and most equitable path forward to ensure you receive your full benefits. We will send you an update when a decision has been made as to how and when membership clocks will be restarted.
The Board regrets that our plan does not allow for scholastic players to attend events at the Club at the present time. We share the frustration of both players and their families, but promise to make sure that our valuable (and large) constituency of younger members will be brought back into the fold at the earliest practicable moment.
Most importantly, please also keep in mind that our reopening plan is constantly evolving and will continue to change. As the number of COVID-19 cases comes down and the number of vaccinated citizens goes up, we expect to lift restrictions with the eventual goal of returning to full normalcy as soon as is safely possible.
Finally, please understand that these decisions were not made without significant deliberation. Consider the recently launched Excelsior Pass program
. Ours is a significantly scaled-down version of what one currently needs in order to attend a sporting event or a performance, to give just two examples.
Our reopening plan is likewise guided by both the CDC’s health recommendations and by our primary goal of protecting the health of our members. We look forward to a time soon when we can open our doors without restrictions. In the meantime, we are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible this spring at the Club we all love!
On behalf of the Marshall Chess Club Board of Governors,
President, Marshall Chess Club