[Linux-aus] Linux Australia Events and COVID-19

Russell Coker russell at coker.com.au
Sat Mar 14 13:18:16 AEDT 2020

On Saturday, 14 March 2020 8:59:55 AM AEDT President, Linux Australia via 
linux-aus wrote:
> As many people are now aware, the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the
> COVID-19 disease it causes is increasing globally. This has the
> potential to affect the activities of Linux Australia over coming months.


Non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled.  If this 
isn't resolved by the end of the year then LCA2021 needs to be delayed or 

> Our first duty is to protect the safety and wellbeing of event
> organisers, volunteers and delegates. Linux Australia is continually
> monitoring developments and how these may affect its future major
> events. When making decisions about these events, Linux Australia and
> local organising teams will work together. We will be guided by the best
> advice available at the time from medical authorities and relevant
> government representatives and act according to it. Event organising
> teams will be asked to respect the advice of authorities, even if this
> leads to event cancellation. The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly,
> and Linux Australia must balance responsiveness with appropriate risk
> assessment and action. The timing of decisions will be in accordance
> with recommendations from public health authorities.

We have to obey Australian law.  We are not required to do the bare minimum 
required by Australian law.  Having a gathering of 400 people doesn't go 
against the recommendations of the government but I think it wouldn't be a 
sensible thing to do.

Where do we draw the line regarding risk to the lives and health of Linux 
users vs the enjoyment of having a LUG meeting?

As an aside LUV meetings are held at a library, while we only have 30-40 
people attending meetings the library would have over 100 people in there at 
the time and considerably more than 500 people during the day.

> In addition to major events, many smaller gatherings are routinely held
> by Linux Australia members. Organisers of these events should become
> familiar with the COVID-19 risk level in their area and make informed
> decisions about proceeding with their events based on the best advice
> available at the time and the nature of their event. If authorities
> issue advice about small gatherings, organisers should respect that
> advice and respond appropriately. Linux Australia will work with
> organisers and support decisions made by them for these local events.

Alternatively Linux Australia could review the risk levels and the information 
from other countries, consult with computer people who work in the medical 
industry and offer advice to people running smaller gatherings.

> Above all, Linux Australia encourages all its members to stay up to date
> with COVID-19 developments, act accordingly and stay safe. We recommend
> members taking personal circumstances and risk factors into account
> before choosing to attend an event auspiced by Linux Australia.

If you are over 50 years old, have immune system problems, or have heart or 
lung problems then avoid all public events.  That covers at least half the 
people who regularly attend LUV meetings and justifies cancelling LUV meetings 
even if it was a good idea for younger and healthier people to attend such 

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