A message from the CQ President: COVID19

The following was delivered by email to members yesterday. Apologies if you get the message twice.

14 March 2020


On Friday, 13 March, several members of the Committee and I met with Ms Kathy Ragless, AM, Director of Companion House and some key members of her staff.  Members from HAGSOC were also present.

Ms Ragless advised that Companion House had activated its pandemic plan which could have a flow-on impact to other tenants of Block “C” at Cook.  She advised that among its many services, Companion House is a functioning medical facility and has set up a room for its clients who may be experiencing respiratory issues.  Where possible, these clients are met in the carpark and escorted to the room, however some clients may attend Companion House in the usual manner by coming in through the front door.

While the number of clients currently being assessed by Companion House for possible symptoms of COVID-19 are low, should there be an increase, Companion House or the ACT Government may seek to utilise the Hall.  Canberra Quilters will be provided with ample notice should this occur.

There are some actions that Canberra Quilters members should be undertaking now – not only for their own health, but in consideration of other members.

Members with Caring Responsibilities
Feeling Unwell
Canberra Quilters’ Meetings and the AGM
The Room
Local Events
Closure of the Building


If any member has recently travelled overseas, or been in contact with anyone who has travelled overseas, the Committee would ask that member not to attend any meetings for a minimum of 14 days on their return to Australia.  While the Committee accepts the member may not be unwell, we do need to ensure that all members remain healthy.

The Committee is aware that many institutions are also cancelling domestic travel.  We do not wish to restrict members who may have travelled within Australia, but please be aware of anyone you come into contact with and any impact on your health.  If you do not feel well on return to Canberra, please do not attend any meetings.

Members with Caring Responsibilities

Members who undertake the role of primary carer should give consideration as to whether they continue coming to meetings.  The Committee does not wish to ask these members to not attend, but we do ask them to give close consideration to any possible risk to the individual for whom they are caring and make an informed decision as to whether they should continue attending Canberra Quilters’ meetings.  We appreciate this may be a difficult decision but we encourage all members to monitor all health warnings as they are issued.

Feeling Unwell

Again, if any member feels unwell generally, the Committee would ask that member not to attend any meetings at Canberra Quilters until they have recovered.  The illness may not be related to COVID-19 but in the interests of all members, it is preferable that unwell members remain at home.

Canberra Quilters’ Meetings

Hall – at this time, the hall is available for use and Wonderful Wednesday and evening meetings will continue.  As the situation may change at short notice, please keep an eye on messages from our Bulletin or blog.  Our social media sites will also be updated.   Please share all messages – including this one – as widely as possible, particularly with those members who do not have access to the electronic messages.

We anticipate the AGM in April will go ahead but if the Hall becomes unavailable, we may need to hold it in our room or in the corridor of Block “C”.  For the ongoing running of Canberra Quilters, it is legally required that the adjourned AGM go ahead and we urge members to attend so that a quorum can be established.

The Room – while the building is open, Canberra Quilters plans to operate as normal but we do require a few additional processes.

  •  If a room coordinator needs to step back due to their caring responsibilities, own health issues or for any other reason, please let Cornelia, Room Bookings Coordinator know so that opening/closing arrangements can be maintained. Contact details for the Room Bookings Coordinator are bookings@canberraquilters.org.au or 62956214 where a message can be left.
  • Hand sanitiser has been placed in the room – please use this on arrival at the room, and after going to the toilet upon re-entering the room.Companion House will ensure the shared toilets are cleaned regularly to avoid any contamination, and members may wish to use the disabled toilet adjacent to the room.
  •  Please do not overcrowd the room.It is important to ensure the room is well ventilated and that members have sufficient space between each other. Again, if you do not feel well please do not attend the meeting at all. If you become unwell during a meeting, please let the room coordinator know and leave as quickly as possible.
  • Should you use any of Canberra Quilters sewing machines, please ensure they are wiped down after use using a wipe or a damp disposable paper towel.
  • At the end of the session, the last person out (usually the room coordinator) should wipe down the door handles to the room (inside and outside). If wipes are not available, warm water with detergent and a disposable paper towel should be used.

The Committee realises that these steps may sound tedious but it is in the interests of the health and wellbeing of all members that we need to introduce these requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise any cross infection of members.

Local Events

Noting the Prime Minister’s comments made late Friday afternoon that it is recommended that gatherings with more than 500 participants be not held, Canberra Quilters intends to liaise with the organisers of Craft Alive and be guided by their intentions.  There is still some time before the event is due to be held, but in view of the lead time needed to advise stall holders, sponsors, and the public, the event may not go ahead.  Once confirmation is received the Committee will formally advise members whether the display will or will not proceed.

I have just received advice from Expertise Events that AQC will be postponed to later in the year – with proposed dates of 20-23 August which follows closely on the scheduled dates for our Exhibition.  It is too early to assess any potential impact on our Exhibition at this stage but the Committee will closely monitor developments and liaise with Expertise Events as appropriate.  In the interim we encourage members to continue to complete their quilts and items for the Exhibition and Sales Room.

Closure of the Building

Should the ACT Government decide to close the building members and groups may wish to consider how they intend to keep in touch.  Do they wish to meet elsewhere (a member’s home), communicate by email or use virtual technology.  The Committee recognises that social interaction is a key reason members belong to Canberra Quilters and we would like this to continue in some form or other.  Should the building be closed, we hope it will only be for a short time.  The Committee, through the Room Bookings Coordinator, will keep you informed.

The Committee and I encourage you all to take care, look after your own health and be conscious of the impact that any cross infection may have on other Canberra Quilters members.

Raylee Bielenberg

1 comment

  1. Is Canberra Quilters considering having an electronic or virtual AGM in the light of the increasing need for physical distancing and protection of our vulnerable people for the April AGM?

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