You can see the new video on BOD approved variance on masks here:
Hello. I am Illadore de Bedegrayne, Æthelmearc’s Kingdom Seneschal. I’m here today to discuss AE’s covid policies and the new mask variance, and why we asked for the variance, AND how Æthelmearc is going to help local groups with this variance.
After being asked by several members of the populace, and in discussion with Duke Christopher, our deputy Kingdom Seneschal for Pandemics, I asked the SCA’s Board of Directors for a variance for Æthelmearc to continue its mask requirements (where masks are required inside when transmission is high or substantial in the local county) and it was granted by the BOD.
We asked for this variance because we want to protect our people. The variance is based on the high and substantial transmission rates of Covid-19 across WV, PA, and NY. Currently, all of Æthelmearc has almost entirely high and substantial transmission, according to the CDC covid transmission map. Also, per the NY Times Covid-19 charts, WV, PA, and NY have had relatively flat rates of Covid-19 transmission and deaths since July. We have not seen a trend downwards like we were hoping – and we expect, due to what happened in Winters 2020 and 2021, we will see a spike in transmission rates across all of Æthelmearc.
One of the main reasons that we are asking everyone to wear masks indoors when transmission is high or substantial is that we want to be inclusive. We want our members and subjects who are most susceptible to Covid – people who are disabled or immunocompromised or over 50 – to be able to attend events. We also want to protect folks from Long Covid. Recently studies from Scotland show that approximately half of the study’s participants who got Long Covid were still suffering over a year later. Other studies have shown that people can get Long Covid from repeat infections.
We want to protect our people. We are a Society based on the core Chivalric values of honor and service and one way you can do honor to others and serve is to wear a mask indoors and help prevent transmission. We also know, per the Wall Street Journal, when both individuals are wearing masks, it greatly reduces the chance of transmission, much more than just one person wearing a mask.
We know that other Kingdoms are not requiring this – all I can say to that is that I remember the Æthelmearc unofficial motto – “it’s just better here.” We care about our people and want everyone to be able to come to events and be as safe as we can make it for everyone.
The Kingdom also wants to help out local groups. Their Majesties came up with the idea that we provide N95 masks (or the like) for those who want or need them. We have created a budget to help reimburse local groups that want to provide them at events. We also are willing to work with groups and help fund safety plans – such as renting tents and heaters for outside feasts or separating small household groups for feasts. Or if groups want to build Corsi-Rosenthal boxes as air purifiers, we’ll work with you on that too.
This decision is not going to be popular with everyone. We know this and we hope this video will help explain our thinking as to why the Kingdom needs this. Just know that we hear you and we will work with you regarding your situation. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our utmost best to come up with ways for you to have events or practices and do them in a safer manner.
Last but not least remember that we had a Vikings in the Snow event once and it was lovely. Put on your wool outfits and go outside to help protect your friends and fellow members.
Thank you all and I hope you stay safe and happy.
LINKS – because I believe in receipts:
NYTimes Covid Data: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html
WSJ Chart on Masks: https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack.com/p/a-quick-note-on-masks-and-cdc-guidance (Non-paywall reference)
Scottish Study: (Outcomes among confirmed cases and a matched comparison group in the Long-COVID in Scotland study) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-33415-5
Article on Repeat Infections and Long Covid – Kaiser Health News – https://khn.org/news/article/long-covid-omicron-reinfections-vaccines/