At the end of August, the Ebell Board of Directors asked the staff to develop and distribute a survey to the members to better understand their comfort level with in-person events and, specifically, with dining and meals as part of Ebell events. Nearly 60% of members responded, and we remain deeply grateful to everyone for sharing their thoughts, questions and concerns.
Among the key takeaways was that 66% of members said they would not attend indoor events at all if unvaccinated guests were attending (even with negative test results received less than 72 hours beforehand). In a separate question, 46% indicated that they were not comfortable dining indoors at all. Many did note that they would be more comfortable dining outside, but still with only vaccinated members and guests.
As is typical, the survey tried to reverse the question to see if the data trends held strong, which they did: When asked if members would attend indoor events at The Ebell if everyone was vaccinated, 71% of members said they were very comfortable or somewhat comfortable doing so. The rest indicated that they were still uncomfortable even with only vaccinated people around them.
We then sought information about membership retention. If only vaccinated members and guests were allowed to attend in-person events, 90% indicated a strong yes and 2.6% indicated a strong no (with the remainder offering other thoughts and reasons for caution).
This survey provided a mandate to the Board of Directors and staff to further develop the programs and projects in ways that honored the concerns and reservations of members. With this in mind, Opening Day was shifted into the Wilshire Ebell Theatre which allowed for VERY socially distanced seating while light hospitality was offered beforehand only outdoors on the courtyard. Similarly, though rain forced us indoors for the Charter Day lunch and program, proof of vaccination was required. At the same time, Charter Day and Opening Day were “hybrid” or filmed events that will allow for members to watch from home (with sound and visual elements improving every time we we do it!). For the next several months the Programs Committee is planning both in-person and Zoom programs to make sure we are providing the highest level of access and engagement possible while navigating through the pandemic.
And as always, we are eternally grateful to all those members who are attending events whether in-person or via Zoom, and we are deeply appreciative to everyone for following the safety protocols. In this way, we care for each other and our Ebell community.