After more than a year, BMIMC is emerging from the restrictions of the 2021 lockdowns and preparing to live with the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee and staff have given careful consideration to the principles and practices we will need to follow to ensure the Centre’s COVID-Safe operation.
We are pleased to announce the reopening of the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre in January 2022 for residential retreats with covid-safe arrangements in place – and we need your help to make it work!
In order to keep our resident staff, volunteers and all visitors safe during retreat time, we have a number of procedures in place. You will be fully briefed on these arrangements upon your arrival. However, the following outline provides an overview of our approach:
- We encourage you to assess your own needs and vulnerability to covid 19 when deciding whether or not to attend a retreat and thank you in advance for your co-operation to keep the Centre a safe and healthy place.
- All staff and people visiting the Centre, including teachers, yogis and volunteers are expected to be fully vaccinated unless granted a medical exemption.
- We will require proof of vaccination or medical exemption upon or prior to arrival. For yogis, this will be incorporated into the online registration process.
- We also require that you do not attend a retreat if you have covid-like symptoms or have been in contact in the previous 14 days with people suspected to have or who have been diagnosed with covid 19. If this applies to you, please provide us with as much notice as possible and a full refund of your retreat fee will be arranged.
- If you experience any covid-like symptoms while you are on retreat, please advise the retreat manager immediately so we can arrange a rapid Covid test. If we notice anyone exhibiting these symptoms who has not come forward, we will also require them to undertake a rapid covid test or leave the retreat.
- While we follow all government guidelines, it is your personal responsibility to attend to your own hygiene, wear a mask if required and maintain the appropriate physical distance during your stay. Please remember to bring your own masks if you require them during your retreat.
We are still working through testing protocols and quarantine options but in any event a positive test will mean the retreat will end immediately and everyone will be required to return home. Appropriate refunds will be provided to yogis should this happen.
We strongly encourage you to arrange your own private transport to the Centre. This will help ensure that you are able to safely leave the Centre in the event that a suspected case of covid occurs during a retreat. It will also be necessary for you to have a local (ie Sydney region) nominated support person as a condition of attending your retreat. If this is not possible, you will need to be able to fund and organise your own departure if required. We are unable to provide transport or long term isolation should you become ill.
While we recognise these arrangements may disappoint some people who are hesitant or not prepared to be vaccinated, we are prioritising the needs of vaccinated people to feel safe during retreat. This is a conscious and considered decision, and we believe it is what the vast majority of people who come to BMIMC would expect and would support.