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Dear Supporter Ji,

On Sunday, March 15, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released guidance stating that for the next 8 weeks, all events with more than 50 attendees be postponed or cancelled in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). In addition, President Trump announced in his Monday afternoon press conference that groups of no bigger than 10 are recommended. Officials in several states, including California, New Jersey, and Ohio, have also begun issuing curfews and limiting activities more broadly.

These changes are part of an effort in “social distancing,” an epidemiological term that means taking simple steps to reduce close contact between people. This will hopefully reduce transmission of the virus among communities so that our healthcare system can provide better care. You can
read more about social distancing here, and follow these tips to practice it:

  1. If you are over the age of 60 and/or have other heart- or lung-related health concerns (or are otherwise immuno-comprimsed), you need to stay home as much as possible.
  2. If you are young and healthy, you should still practice social distancing to better protect others who are more vulnerable. Check-in and provide support to those who cannot leave their homes.
  3. If you are sick--even slightly under the weather--absolutely stay home and call your healthcare provider.
  4. If you are responsible for gurdwara programming, please postpone or cancel any large events (including celebrations and nagar keertans) where crowds may gather. In addition, please put in measures to immediately reduce sangat size at gurdwaras as per guidelines and national/state policies, especially during regular divaans. We must take extraordinary measures to limit attendance to those who need services from the gurdwara (e.g. meals, shelter, and/or healthcare) in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many gurdwaras have already suspended regular divaans to limit the number of people at the gurdwara at any given time. Some gurdwaras have also considered starting a pick-up or delivery model for safely packaged langar or groceries for those who need it. Also consider online programming so local sangats can continue to engage.

Please understand that these and other measures are to protect our sangats: They will allow us to support those who are underserved and vulnerable, as is our responsibility. For additional resources and tips related to keeping sangats safe and gurdwaras clean, please see resources from the North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association and others in English and Punjabi that we circulated last week.

Finally, please note that Congress and the White House are negotiating a COVID-19 relief package. We highly recommend that you follow this news closely, as the legislation may provide you with additional time off in the event you or someone in your family is affected by the virus, and because there will likely be tax relief implications and human resources guidelines for business owners.

Though the Sikh Coalition is not a public health organization, we feel that we must all support each other during this time by sharing resources and best practices in order to support the most vulnerable in our community.

Chardi Kala,

Satjeet Kaur
Executive Director
The Sikh Coalition

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