What’s wrong with this picture?

Many people close together in front of Mercy Mobile

By Charlotte Casey and Joan Simon, SJPJC Coordinating Council members

Taken at the end of the Memorial Day Car Caravan for Peace, this photo shows people gathered in front of the Mercy Mobile as we presented a bucket in which participants had dropped donations for Community Homeless Alliance Ministry (CHAM).

You’ve probably already guessed the answer to the What’s Wrong question: people are clumped together, ignoring social distancing guidelines. Why? Because those of us who organized the caravan failed to think through the implications of the six-foot rule for an event like this.

In the interests of preventing such situations in the future, here are some recommendations that we intend to follow for any caravan that we organize in the future. Now that car caravans offer a way to protest that is permitted by the County Health Office, we hope that other local groups take notice and also practice “safe caravanning”!

  • On every announcement or posting that publicizes the event, we should stress the importance of wearing a mask and keeping at least a six-foot distance from others.
  • Ideally, participants should decorate their cars with signs before arriving at the meet-up point. That will minimize people-to-people contact at the start of the caravan.
  • If this is not possible, taping signs to cars should be done in a parking lot large enough to allow a good distance between cars.
  • At these gatherings, we are happy to see friends whom we have not seen for over 10 weeks but we can greet people “remotely”. There should be at least one person present with a bullhorn who can remind people about the need to keep their distance.
  • Anyone who wants to advertise an upcoming event should bring a big sign with the details that people can take pictures of rather than hand out flyers.
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