ATX Hackerspace Responsibilities During COVID-19 Orders

This proposal would effectively over-ride the “Re-opening Plan” restrictions on advance registration and hours.

This was originally posted by Robert Ristroph to the mailing list on May 15th and seconded, before the discourse forum was started. I’m re-posting it here to make it clear this will be discussed, possibly amended and voted on.

Rob’s original text includes links and when I try to create this on discourse, a pop-up says: “Sorry, you can’t include links in your posts.” I had to mess up the links to be able to post it.


Whereas,
An impending emergency prompted the Hackerspace board to close the
facility prior to official government orders, in a not regularly
scheduled meeting sometime the week of March 13th for which there
exist no minutes ( http_atxhs.org/wiki/Membership_Meeting_Notes ),

Whereas,
The State of Texas “shelter in place” order
https_gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/EO-GA-14_Statewide_Essential_Service_and_Activity_COVID-19_IMAGE_03-31-2020.pdf
is now in force, and incorporates by reference
https_www.cisa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Version_3.0_CISA_Guidance_on_Essential_Critical_Infrastructure_Workers_4.pdf
via https_tdem.texas.gov/essentialservices/ , containing the
language “Workers necessary for the manufacturing of materials and products
needed to manufacture medical equipment and PPE” and “In-person,
non-mandatory activities should be delayed until the resumption of
normal operations.”

Whereas,
Travis county “Stay at Home” order
(https_www.traviscountytx.gov/images/docs/200314-gathering-order.pdf
) is now in force, and contains guidance on when to wear face masks,
including the language “When leaving one’s residence, all persons
over the age of ten (10) should wear some form of covering over
their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or
handkerchief, except when
1 Alone in a separate single space, whether indoor or outdoor,
2 In the presence only of other members of one’s household or
residence whether inside or outside the residence,
3 When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or
security risk”,

Whereas,
Travis county “Stay at Home” order
(https_www.traviscountytx.gov/images/docs/200314-gathering-order.pdf
) is now in force, and contains the language “While violation of
this order is a criminal offense, except as otherwise provided
heren, enforcement of this order is substantially reliant on
self-regulation”,

Whereas,
The ATX Hackerspace LLC has no guardianship or other relationship
with any members or other person to be in position to evaluate their
mental of physical health,

Whereas,
City of Austin “Stay at Home” order has expired on May 8th, but
contains much the same guidance,

Whereas,
The International Fire and Building Codes
( https_codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2015/chapter-10-means-of-egress
), as adopted by the City of
Austin, Travis County, and the State of Texas and tied to the
Hackerspace insurance policy, state:
“1010.1.9 Door Operations
Except as specifically permitted by this section, egress doors
shall be readily openable from the egress side without the use of
key or special knowledge or effort.
1010.1.9.1 Door Hardware
Door handles, pulls, latches, locks and other operating devices on
doors required to be accessible by Chapter 11 shall not require
tight grasping, tight pinching or twisting of the wrist to operate.”

Whereas,
The Hackerspace has an insurance policy mandated by the property
lease, and a lease itself, which require the building to maintained
in safe and legal operating order,

Whereas,
The ATX Hackerspace LLC Operating Agreement (
https_docs.google.com/document/d/1yRdrxg2ZvjEo4ZCbetBhDVAIV4uTz8Zlnfc9vhRs2PA/edit
) contains the language “The purposes and character of the business
of the Company shall be to accomplish any or all lawful business”
and unlawful business cannot therefore have the protection of
limited liability from the Corporation,

Whereas,
The ATX Hackerspace is only open to membership of adults of 18 years
of age or older,

Resolved,

That the Hackerspace doors be returned to key fob operating status
and not physically locked,
That every person at the Hackerspace premises be solely responsible
for assuring their own activity is legal under the various orders,
That every person be solely responsible for assuring that their face
mask practices are consistent with law and health.

This proposal overrides the “Re-Opening Plan” with a simple return to key fob access (without requiring registration first or the limits on hours, etc), with common-sense limitations, enforced by personal responsibility and member culture.

I might propose an amendment to simplify the resolution, given how things have changed since May 15th.

As Rob said: “Some of you will disagree, and I respect that and all of you, that’s why we have votes to decide these things.” I understand that people have different opinions about the risk versus benefit trade-off.

I support this proposal for these reasons:

The phases, structure and baby-sitting of the Re-Opening Plan are not more effective than common sense safety steps.

Safety comes from simplicity and culture/awareness. Not complex rules and baby-sitting.

Just like most people don’t understand the 5 “stages” of Travis County re-opening and the 3 “phases’’ of Texas re-opening, many people don’t understand the ATX Hackerspace Reopen plan. But most people do understand what is important: don’t go to the hackerspace if you’re sick, wash your hands, sanitize tools, minimize time you’re close to other people, wear a mask when you’re close to other people, we’re not going to have big classes with people close together. By following these simple common-sense principles, we will promote health and do our part to continue to flatten the curve.

The rules and restrictions of the Re-Opening Plan do not reflect a good risk versus benefit trade.

The hackerspace culture in particular promotes self-reliance and bottoms-up success.

The core values of hackerspace culture embrace self-reliance and community values to promote safety, not rules and supervision.

An important function of the ATX Hackerspace is social connection.

Many members gain health benefits from social connection at the ATX Hackerspace. Bars and parks are open in Austin. Of course, there are common sense restrictions at bars and of course the members of the community will exercise best practices for preventing virus spread.

General manufacturing is allowed at 25% of the listed occupancy.

Source: https__www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/opentexas.aspx Protocols for Manufacturers, revised 5/18/2020

Manufacturing is the category that ATX Hackerspace fits best under. Activity is allowed at 25% of the listed occupancy. Robert Ristroph (treasurer) has requested an official occupancy limit number from the City. It’s likely to be about 200, which would put our limit at 50 people.

(The estimate of 200 people comes from a rough rule-of-thumb of one person per 36 sq ft, with some adjustment for hallways and what not. The area of the hackerspace is 8,500 sq ft.)

The fact that we’re typically so much lower than 25% of the occupancy limit is an indication that we were never high-risk for virus spread to begin with. We’re not a manufacturing environment with people elbow-to-elbow on a line sewing, soldering or assembling. We don’t have multiple people sharing a cubicle work cell for hours.

Addressing counter-argument: “Our lawyer said Rob’s resolution would violate law.”

I’m not sure if any board members have actually made this argument or not. But let me address it.

First, it’s obviously not the case. There is lots of manufacturing activity going on now in Austin and Travis county and any plain reading of the various orders makes it clear that this is allowed.

Second, any opinion of our lawyer was given to the board in executive session. This means that the discussions are secret, privileged and not to be discussed outside the executive sessions. Unlike other parts of board meetings, recordings and minutes are not kept for executive session. Board members should not call executive session with our lawyer, then make representations about what the lawyer said in executive session.

Addressing counter-argument: “Our lawyer said that the board has ultimate authority, and the board doesn’t have to act on proposals from Class B members.”

Some members of the board have indicated they will allow this proposal to go to vote, but will ignore it if it passes. Rather than address this now, I encourage you to vote for this proposal. The Class B members will consider what to do when the board does not act on a duly approved proposal if and when this comes to pass. I understand many members are frustrated by the slowness of the process.

See also my comment above about opinions of our lawyer. The board should not make representations about what our lawyer said to them in an executive session (unrecorded, secret, no minutes).

I am opposed to the “free for all” plan listed above.

We as B share members have a legal responsibility to ensure the space is safe, and that steps are being taken to limit peoples exposure.

I would agree the current phased re-opening plan has been problematic. But just abandoning and saying bust of luck let’s hope nobody Sue’s the space if they get sick.

On some level it’s a legal concern, we are an LLC. Which is a LIMITED liability. We can still be sued if people find reason to. We’ve already seen how problematic and costly a single lawsuit can be. If we open ourselves up as being a transmission point of covid we open ourselves up to numerous lawsuits.

“Well its people’s responsibilities to keep themselves safe”, this also implies people are aware of the conditions when they entered the space. How many people are in the building, how crowded are people in the building. Are people wearing masks? Are people social distancing? Is the space being sanitized. People won’t know until they are already inside and exposed if there is not monitoring system in place.

There are legal ramifications for how we choose to define ourselves. If we want to claim ATXHS as a manufacturing business what legal ramifications are there? Are we classified as an office?

I was under the impression we were classified as a educational organization. As such we should be still be closed.

Just because classifiying ourselves as a manufacturing company gives you the answer you want doesnt mean we are a manufacturing company. This is a legal issue.

Just because the membership votes to perform an illegal act. Doesn’t obsolve the space, its board, or its share members of legal responsibility.

If this resolution passes I will immediately terminate my B-share for fear of being pulled into possible lawsuits.

So long as retail businesses are still expected to limit how many people are able to enter their buildings, then it should be expected that we will do the same to some extent.

1 Like

You make a lot of good points. We have to balance the risk vs benefit of sharing dangerous tools and we have to balance the risk vs benefit of how to respond to the Covid-19 virus.

Just facts:

  • ATX Hackerspace is a Texas LLC.
  • On the tax returns there is a place for a NAICS code and business description. We have written “SERVICES - TECHNICAL SUPPO” with NAICS code 541990 (All Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services) in the last filing.
  • Section 2.5 of the Operating Agreement states the purpose. It covers a lot of educational goals and general business activity.
  • Besides the above, I am not aware of any legal classification as an educational organization, an office space or a manufacturing entity. I’m not sure what governmental body such a classification or representation would have been made to, besides the tax filing.

My opinion:

  • I think most reasonable fire marshals / inspectors would look around ATX Hackerspace and find “manufacturing” to be a good description of the activity for the purpose of determining occupancy load and which Covid-19 orders apply.

With regards to the proposal:

  • It could be improved to be clear that the common sense stuff I listed is being followed.
  • It could be improved to be clear that the number of people are limited to 25% of the occupancy level.
  • It could be improved to be clear that the intent of the proposal is to follow the law and not do anything illegal.

I don’t agree that the Hackerspace can or should simply abdicate responsibility for ensuring that usage of the space is legal and safe to the individual members. Which seems to be the function of this proposal. At the least, I would want some guidance from our lawyer and/or insurance company on what liabilities and responsibilities the Hackerspace has in this situation before going much further down this path.

I think the current reopening plan is a good starting point. The obvious problem with this proposal is that it would be very difficult to determine whether any attempt to use the space would be safe or legal without poking their head in to see how many people are in the space and what they’re doing, and doing that could itself be a risk. Scheduling usage of areas and equipment seems to me to be a straightforward solution to that problem, allowing members to know beforehand how many people are likely in the space and what areas they are likely to be occupying. Of course, the devil is in the details, and I believe the particulars of the reopening plan can and should be up for discussion. But, at least in it’s general outline, I think the current plan is sound and whatever problems it has can be addressed more easily than throwing it out entirely and trying to start over from scratch. (And coming from me, that’s saying something, since I think ‘throwing it out entirely and starting over from scratch’ is a perfectly valid solution to a lot of problems, such as the current OA for example.)

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I’ve asked for 3 minutes tonight to speak in against this proposal, and in favor of continuing the reopening plan that is currently underway.

I’m a big fan of ATXHS and, like everyone else, I miss the ability to drop in and work on projects, see friends, and admire the ingenuity and creativity of our members. The disruptions - economic, social, health - caused by COVID are beyond words. I work in a hospital, I’m an anesthesiologist. I’ve cared for COVID+ patients, intubating many of them, and unfortunately watching some of them die. The frustration caused by this virus is beyond words. But our collective frustration and COVID-fatigue doesn’t change a few key truths:

  • Common sense is seldom enough to ensure a safe community, which is why we have speed limits, fire codes, pharmacies, and laws banning lead-based paint, just to name a few rules and safety controls.

  • If society needs rules to maintain safety regarding things that are overwhelmingly familiar (motor vehicles, fire risk, etc.), why would anyone think that a situation overwhelming unfamiliar and evolving (novel virus, global pandemic, exponential death rate) could be adequately managed with a “common sense” approach alone?

(With regards to describing the Hackerspace as a manufacturing facility: I’ve never heard it described that way. The pre-COVID front page of ATXHS uses words like “community,” “collective,” “collaborative,” and “makers.” It doesn’t mention anything about manufacturing. I’ve never heard someone giving a tour describe the space as a manufacturing facility. It’s a community makerspace, plain and simple.)

I applaud the Board for spending untold hours thoughtfully navigating this situation. Has it been perfect? No, it hasn’t, but no one on the board is arguing otherwise. But to scrap a thoughtful reopening plan instead of proposing amendments and being willing to compromise is shortsighted and dangerous. Like many other organizations, the Board has erred on the side of safety, and that’s what ATXHS members deserve. It’s also what Austin deserves. Let’s collaborate. Let’s continue to open the shop safely and incrementally and move forward.

Billy

1 Like

Rob amended his resolution on the mailing list, so I’m posting his latest here:


Whereas,
An impending emergency prompted the Hackerspace board to close the
facility prior to official government orders, in a not regularly
scheduled meeting sometime the week of March 13th for which there
currently exist no minutes
( http_atxhs.org/wiki/Membership_Meeting_Notes ),

Whereas,
The Texas Governor’s executive order GA-23,
https_gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/EO-GA-23_phase_two_expanding_opening_COVID-19.pdf
is now in force, and containing the
language “15. Non-CISA manufacturing services, for facilities that
operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the
facility”

Whereas,
Travis county “Stay at Home” order
(https_www.traviscountytx.gov/images/docs/200314-gathering-order.pdf
) is now in force, and contains guidance on when to wear face masks,
including the language “When leaving one’s residence, all persons
over the age of ten (10) should wear some form of covering over
their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, scarf, bandana, or
handkerchief, except when
1 Alone in a separate single space, whether indoor or outdoor,
2 In the presence only of other members of one’s household or
residence whether inside or outside the residence,
3 When doing so poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or
security risk”,

Whereas,
Travis county “Stay at Home” order
(https_www.traviscountytx.gov/images/docs/200314-gathering-order.pdf
) is now in force, and contains the language “While violation of
this order is a criminal offense, except as otherwise provided
heren, enforcement of this order is substantially reliant on
self-regulation”,

Whereas,
The ATX Hackerspace LLC has no guardianship or other relationship
with any members or other person to be in position to evaluate their
mental of physical health,

Whereas,
City of Austin “Stay at Home” order has been renewed until June 15th,
and contains much the same guidance,

Whereas,
The ATX Hackerspace LLC Operating Agreement (
https_docs.google.com/document/d/1yRdrxg2ZvjEo4ZCbetBhDVAIV4uTz8Zlnfc9vhRs2PA/edit
) contains the language “The purposes and character of the business
of the Company shall be to accomplish any or all lawful business”
and unlawful business cannot therefore have the protection of
limited liability from the Corporation,

Whereas,
The ATX Hackerspace is only open to membership of adults of 18 years
of age or older,

Resolved,

That the Hackerspace doors be returned to key fob operating status
and not physically locked,
That every person at the Hackerspace premises be solely responsible
for assuring their own activity is legal under the various orders,
That every person be solely responsible for assuring that their face
mask practices are consistent with law and health,
and that any guests be the full responsibility of the hosting member
in accordance with existing guest policies.

I propose this amendment to the proposal to make it clear that members are required to follow best practices and the building capacity is limited to 25%.

The amendment is that the whereas clauses remain the same and the Resolved clause be changed to read:


Resolved,

That the Hackerspace doors be returned to key fob operating status and not physically locked,
That every person at the Hackerspace premises be solely responsible for assuring their own activity is legal under the various orders,
and that any guests be the full responsibility of the hosting member in accordance with existing guest policies.

That all members and guests are required to follow best practices as outlined by CDC and local authorities including: don’t go to the hackerspace if you’re sick, wash hands regularly, sanitize tools, minimize time you’re close to other people (social distancing) and wear a mask when you’re close to other people.

That the total number of people allowed at one time in the ATX Hackerspace is restricted to 25% of the Occupancy Load as determined by the City of Austin.

That these restrictions will expire on August 1st.

[thread moved to voting matters section as it had been submitted to the board]

Note that this proposal was amended during the member meeting last night to add “It is the feeling of the class-B members” at the beginning of the resolved statement. For clarity, this would now read:

Resolved,

It is the feeling of the class-B members that the Hackerspace doors be returned to key fob operating status and not physically locked,
That every person at the Hackerspace premises be solely responsible for assuring their own activity is legal under the various orders,
and that any guests be the full responsibility of the hosting member in accordance with existing guest policies.

That all members and guests are required to follow best practices as outlined by CDC and local authorities including: don’t go to the hackerspace if you’re sick, wash hands regularly, sanitize tools, minimize time you’re close to other people (social distancing) and wear a mask when you’re close to other people.

That the total number of people allowed at one time in the ATX Hackerspace is restricted to 25% of the Occupancy Load as determined by the City of Austin.

That these restrictions will expire on August 1st.

1 Like

Looking back through this just wanting to point out for the record that the initial statement here is no longer factual. Those meeting minutes were added on 5/15 and update to include additional details on 5/27.

Also want to make sure it is clear to all that the doors are already currently operating by key fob status and not physically locked.

Preparing the Helios vote and will send out after verifying it is setup correctly.

I do not see why Skedda could not be required while following this proposal. The locking/unlocking of the door is not dependent on the requirement to use Skedda.

Skedda could have multiple other slots added. The problem is the exit time is hard to schedule, so it would never be accurate in regards to who is actually there.

If people are not using Skedda, then politely revoke their membership until we’re at phase 3.

When I went the other day, I found it very strange to have a time to leave the hackerspace by. A very novel feeling. It was also a novel feeling having to rush because I felt like I might be late.

After visiting the space, I feel like it is now something that is way too under-utlized for the expense. I’m not sure the property management company deserves any of my monthly fees given the current utilization of the space.

PPE production is nobel, but now it seems like it is more of an excuse to keep people from using that area?

We all have different expectations from the space. Someone who just wants to use the woodshop might be quite happy with current situation, while there are others who find a lot of the current approach disagreeable.

I very strongly disagree with the need to pay an attorney for any advice on these matters. Many members here are capable of formulating their own correct opinions without needless money being wasted. Likewise, I’m not sure how the insurance company would come into play. Some sort of negligence has to be demonstrated and it is hard for me to fathom that ever being the case regardless of this proposal.

The facemask clause is what loses me. During the meeting I heard another member say they could call out to others when they were walking by as a tactic of some sort. Well calling out is close to singing and for those who have been paying somewhat attention it is a great way to expel viruses into the air. I simply don’t trust people. A cloth mask is a nuisance but not like wearing a respirator.

Regardless of all this, the board has went through a lot of work and I do acknowledge that none of these decisions are easy or straight-forward. I am going to put off my vote until then end but will likely vote in favor of the proposal. This is especially easy given that it is no longer binding.

1 Like

In the United states anybody can be sued for anything, even with forms and contracts saying you can’t sue, you still can.

The space would then have to hire a lawyer to defend themselves from a frivolous lawsuit. Even if it is eventually dismissed the time and expense of fending off a frivolous lawsuit can weight down on the space.

(I’m not involved in the talks with our insurance or lawyer so I’m assuming here) Consulting our lawyer and our insurance is to insure if we are sued and lose the insurance would pay out if we follow the requirements they lay out.

It would be foolish for the space to decide “well our insurance will cover any lawsuit payouts if we enforce limits on who all is in the building, but we decided we didnt want their protection so it could be a free for all instead.” The space is opening themselves up for both lawsuits and legal payouts because we dont want any limits.

Again consulting our lawyer if frivolous lawsuits start being filed, the lawyer we have on retainer will only handle so much as part of their retainer. They may decide they require more to represent a organization who willfully opens itself up for liability, and decides against their legal advice.

You say the space is under utilized. What is it that’s causing it to be under utilized? Right now everybody has access to skedda, full view of the schedule.

If the schedule was fully book and people couldnt get in because there simply wasn’t any availability I could see your arguement but so far people just havent booked that much time.

If people are having issues using skedda, or not sure how to do something we encourage them to speak to somebody on the re-open team to address those questions.

Trying to figure out how much time you need for a project is not an impossible order. If you need more time you can put a back to back booking in skedda (we need to update the documentation. To specify such) but if you planned for 2 hours but turns out you need 3, you can just book additional time as long as nobody else has booked it.

I dont understand why figuring out how much time a project will take is so impossible. It has been fine for the CNC’s, lasers, printers, autobay for years for people to estimate the time they needed. Why it is physically impossible for you to estimate your project I dont understand. Even at my day job I’m forced to estimate how long projects will take it’s not impossible simply requires effort.

//////
I will summarize my still lack of understanding of what this proposal is trying to fix. I dont understand what the pain points are.
-is somebody unable to access the space that wants to? If so let’s work to address the issue.
-is somebody thinking our attempts are in-effectice? Then let’s work out something so they are effective.

All I hear from this discussion is “we are legally allowed to do less to protect our members, therefore we should do the minimum”

If there are specific actional issues that you want addressed then specify them. What specifically is the issue with the current plan that is so horrible we should abandon all attempts at moderation of the space?

/////
The governor and CDC guidelines are laid out as the absolute minimum you are required to do, they still recommend businesses asses their own situations and take actions accordingly.

Much like paying some one the minimum wage is saying to them “if I could get away with paying you any less I would” treating our members safety in the same manner is abhorrent to this community.

Cases in austin are still rising. The pandemic hasn’t peaked and it’s not over. Turning it into a free for all now will put people’s lives at risk for no clear reason other than people dont like restrictions.

1 Like

Anyone can be sued for anything, but there are many things that need to line-up. Yes, you could “sue” me tomorrow, but I have no concern over that. People are overstating the issues with liability when it comes to covid. It can’t be proved where anyone caught it, no one is forced to come to the space, there is PPE stuff all over. Everyone is fully aware of the covid situation. There are 2 layers there, LLC and insurance. Last resort is the space is bankrupted, people take their hosted items and a new space is formed, but IMO the chances of that happening are .0001326 %. So all the hand-wringing over being sued is not really a useful use of time. Have you ever heard of someone catching the flu and suing some place? Why would it have changed now? The hackerspace isn’t even worth suing unless you can get the insurance company involved.

If I was the insurance guy and you came to me and asked a question, I’d say, ‘yea, shut it all down and continue paying your premiums. THank you for calling’. :slight_smile:

It is under-utilized because there are multiple rooms that were less used by “makers” that seem to have nothing but random PPE stuff sitting around.

What you don’t understand James is it not always about “projects” and being a “maker”. The place had its own culture before all that stuff started being pushed. A lot of us basically had the feeling that the shop subsidized the space as a whole. Most shop only people had 0 desire to interact with the culture of the time. It was dysfunctional but I found it far more enjoyable. This has been completely flipped upside down though. (It is my guess here - but a lot of this is because the property management people started cracking down on the hacker-hobos.)

Your analogy about paying people minimum wage is valid but in a different way. In both situations people are unhappy because they are not getting what they feel they pay for either via their labor or their $.

I agree the culture of the space isn’t ideal.

At my old makerspace people were much more open with sharing their work with others and enjoyed teaching others what they were doing just cause they enjoyed sharing their projects.

This makerspace simply doesn’t do that, and I wish they would. I had offered in the past to have “project help saturdays” like I used to do at my old makerspace. Where I would be available to help anybody with their projects. But it never attracted a single person.

I would like to see the culture of the space change to be more social and sharing of projects but that’s a long term change.

Yes covid has changed alot of things but turning the space into a free for all because we miss interacting with others is the worst thing we can do atm. While cases are still increasing in the city, turning ourselves into a social hotspot is the absolute last thing we should be doing. Social isolation is getting to everybody, but that doesn’t mean we should put members at risk so we can have water cooler talk.

The board has made efforts to host zoom socials and workshop tours to try and get people interacting where possible, I’ve been in talks to see what kind of events we might be able to have (the landlord rejected one idea I had).

We are trying to make accommodations where we can that would allow people to be safe but still interacting.

I am strongly opposed to this on two levels- first, the pandemic crisis is still very very real, and this open community shop presents a real risk to the community. We are not alone in this- it is my understanding that ALL other makerspaces in Texas are currently closed entirely, and we are already being the pioneers with our Phase II restrictions.

If this were actually taken as a requirement, this equates to stripping the community protection measures to “anyone can do anything you like and it’s your problem if you get arrested” is not acceptable for any maker community at this time. It is an unjustifiable risk to our members, their loved ones, their jobs, and public health.

The legal minimums of the stay-at-home orders at the state/county level are notoriously vague, and arguably lack enforceability so as to be nothing at all. This does not mean we have no responsibilities as a community, or business, or as individuals. The legal minimum “that won’t get you arrested” is not our standard.

This lack of management invites conflict. There is no regulation of how crowded an area would be, nor how building capacity would be managed- if someone plans to come to the Space and finds “too many people” there, or people acting in a manner seen as dangerous to them, who is to leave? Literally anyone can argue “this does not count as ‘close’, it’s unsafe for me to wear a mask, and the Travis County order is legally negated by the Governor’s office, so I’m technically right.” We could spend 100 hours arguing that, and get nowhere. Who would do a head count and tell anyone to leave? Who would say what is “safe”? The Phase II rules and the Skedda system is our best effort to manage that, and a lot of nothing less than heroic volunteer effort has gone into creating that.

Which is the second problem here- this proposal is fundamentally inappropriate in its nature. The Board has not only the power, but the responsibility to set health and safety rules for the community, and has done a great deal of work in research, operating in conjunction with the wider network of makerspaces, to create these rules. That duty to set rules exists on a community, professional, and even legal level. The ReOpen committee was formed to help with that. But this would functionally strip the capacity of the Board to carry out its duties and conflict with our mission as an organization.

Do I agree with every word of the Phase II restrictions? Of course it wouldn’t be the exact same thing if I wrote it, I’d debate details of what rules should be all day. But the bottom line is the Board has the responsibility to make health and safety rules, and voting to undo them does harm to this community. There is the ReOpen group to bring up your concerns, as well as making a case for or against rules with the Board.

Our voting system should not be used to undermine the structure of the org in this way, and presents a significant capacity to do harm to our community.

Vote NO. And please bring your input to ReOpen, or the Board!

Stay safe!

3 Likes

I’ve never had that impression, but you have to actively be at the space to have people talk about their projects. I don’t like video-conferencing. I have a small company and everyone is remote. We never video-conference.

One thing that could be done is add 3-4 slots for the lounge/classroom if PPE production is no longer active. Seal up the hole on the door. I am not sure how the AC system works and how the 2 areas are segregated, but it is a thought.

Regardless, board said they would ignore the proposal and it was reworded specifically to allow them to do so. So the vote is symbolic at this point. Anyone who cares enough has been given enough of a chance to make the $100 deposit and be a B-share member.

Well maybe you should, it’s a growing trend for companies across the country even before the pandemic.

I work for an R&D department at my company. Our team has a short video conference 3 days a week to give updates, discuss issues, and generally just get to chat for a while. It is definitely the high light of my day at work.

But because you don’t like video conference, you think everybody should start exposing themselves to covid so you can socialize.

I said no such thing. Thats incredibly awful logic and frankly quite surprising coming from you. My views on the hackerspace have nothing to do with video-conferencing on any level. I just said that because I don’t find it to be an adequate replacement for any purpose of the hackerspace outside of meetings or someone giving a presentation.

I went to a presentation by Rob. I’d attend others given the right timing and subject matter, but thanks for the lecture on video-conferencing, James. I will be sure to carefully reconsider my thoughts on the subject.

Personal snark aside, I’m unclear on how this proposal as written would actually change anything now?

It is the feeling of the class-B members that the Hackerspace doors be returned to key fob operating status and not physically locked,

Already done.

That every person at the Hackerspace premises be solely responsible for assuring their own activity is legal under the various orders, and that any guests be the full responsibility of the hosting member in accordance with existing guest policies.

This is currently and has always been true, is it not? We appreciate all the work done by the board and other volunteers, but they’re not around 24/7 and there’s not much they can do about a member choosing to do something illegal in the space other than report it to the authorities. ATXHS does not employ private security (to the best of my knowledge).

That all members and guests are required to follow best practices as outlined by CDC and local authorities including: don’t go to the hackerspace if you’re sick, wash hands regularly, sanitize tools, minimize time you’re close to other people (social distancing) and wear a mask when you’re close to other people.

Currently also true (and I believe technically orthogonal to the fact that guests aren’t currently allowed access)

That the total number of people allowed at one time in the ATX Hackerspace is restricted to 25% of the Occupancy Load as determined by the City of Austin.

Also currently true. My understanding of “restricted to X” is that it can’t be more than X, which is certainly the case now. I suspect the original intent was that the allowed number of people be increased to 25% of the Occupancy Load, but that’s not what the text of the proposal actually says.

So… am I missing something?

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