I have talked to and received email from several dancers about their concerns regarding unvaccinated dancers. Some have pressed me to allow only vaccinated people to attend.

The hard part is this: I have been told several times by my supervisor at the City of Sunnyvale that I cannot ask for proof of vaccination or limit the group to only vaccinated people. The class is sponsored by a government entity and, as such, they cannot discriminate. Their activities have to be open to all, not just to Sunnyvale residents, not just to U.S. citizens, not just to able-bodied people. They cannot turn away Republicans or atheists or Muslims or immigrants or people in wheelchairs.... you get the picture. Their only option would be to not hold any group activities at all -- which some have opted to do.

If I were to independently rent a hall somewhere, and the landlord didn't have any restrictions in place that would prohibit it, I could turn away unvaccinated dancers. If I were a business and owned/rented a dance studio, I could turn away unvaccinated dancers or set up separate classes for vaccinated and unvaccinated dancers (I am aware of a local dance studio that does just that). There was an outdoor dance event in the Santa Cruz mountains over Memorial Day Weekend and, while the organizers limited attendance to 100 and you had to be vaccinated, they did not ask for proof of vaccination.

In the meantime, all I can say is the risk right now is very low in Santa Clara County. Because the vast majority of the dancers are vaccinated, and I am vaccinated, I personally feel safe. On the other hand, I acknowledge that many do not feel safe dancing indoors at all, even with masks (or their social pod has told them they cannot dance indoors -- same result), and they have not returned to dancing. The coming months will tell us if our indoor activities are putting us at risk because, if they are, we will see an uptick in new cases. So far, that has not happened and the number of new cases continues to drop.

Remember as well that we are now and always have been at risk for infectious diseases such as the common cold and the flu, though neither is deadly for most people. The flu does manage to kill tens of thousands of people annually, but we have danced together anyway, knowing someone could be contagious and we could get the flu and we could take the sickness home to our families. Children and grandchildren have attended schools and gone to daycare centers where other children are sick or get sick or were sick and those germs spread. We expect our children to get sick once in a while and their immune system will be stronger for having fought off the germs.

Of coufse we don't want any of our loved ones to contract COVID when it is still out there lurking, but we also need to maintain some perspective. It is never going to go completely away. We are not going to get to COVID-Zero. As with all infectious diseases, there will always be some small risk.

Bottom line: All I can currently do is take appropriate precautions and operate within the guidelines established by Santa Clara County and the City of Sunnyvale that allows me to use the gym for dancing. You and every other person has to decide what to do to feel safe --- personally and on behalf of family members.